Growing up, I have a lot of fond memories of Halloween. I lived the first decade of my life in the Midwest and remember walking through the crunching leaves as we moved from house to house. I remember the crispness in the air and the years it got cold enough to snow; similar to the white fall some kids are waking up to today. But, what I remember most is the fun I had with my family.
As I am getting ready to enjoy another holiday with my kids and our extended family, I find myself thinking back to the first Halloween with my son. He had been in our home for only 3 months by then. I was going through the process of picking costumes and wondering what his birth parents were feeling knowing that I would be the one to hold his hand and take him trick or treating. I wondered if he would look back at that moment with fond memories or if he would only see the gap of a moment he wished would have been with his family. There is a pressure that comes when you are caring for someone else’s child; especially at the holidays. More so, there is a pressure that comes for a child that is celebrating a special moment away from their family that can be hard to understand unless you have experienced it. But, in those moments, I did my best to dress him up as the cutest firefighter, with black smudges on his face for extra effect. I took pictures to share and hoped that his family would feel our love for them through our love for him.
That was 7 years ago today. Tonight, as I dress up my kids, take them to houses to get way too much candy, drink homemade root beer and eat homemade soup with the family, I will remember the privilege I have to be mom to my kids while acknowledging the loss that lead us to be a family. We will make memories, dress up in our goofy family-themed costumes that the kids help pick, and soak in moments of them being kids because they deserve that normalcy. Every kid deserves that.
For information on where to donate gently used costumes for kids in foster care, contact Leila Woodard at https://www.facebook.com/Gems-Dress-Up-Closet-1125423084144864/
(Photo credits Steph Wahlig at Steponme Photography)
Founder/CEO Foster Arizona