I was at HomeGoods the other day and I couldn't stop watching a mother and her three kids as they shopped for Halloween decorations. What struck me was the mother's excitement. She was almost more excited than her kids!
Don't get me wrong, I wasn't stalking her but she was certainly hard to miss.
Her kids ranged from perhaps 5-9 years old and they stuck by her like glue. Gleefully they commented on the spooky things that were added to their cart.
As I watched a lump formed in my throat.
I realized that I wanted to be near them because it transported me back to a similar shopping trip 5 years ago.
That trip was also at HomeGoods but it was I who was shopping for Halloween decorations with my son.
Every September my son would start pulling out the Halloween decorations. The spookier the better.
I would just as soon start in on my negotiations.
"Maybe the gargoyle that you put that extra blood on could be swapped out for this pretty mum or maybe even this cute little pumpkin."
But he wouldn't have it.
Our porch and yard was soon transformed into a bloody, spider crawling, skeleton swinging graveyard and he was happy.
Watching that family brought up a range of emotions. Seeing the mother's excitement made me feel guilty. Did I show that much excitement? Why did I beg him to wait until the calendar flipped to October to start decorating? What would have been the harm?
It made me long for the time when my kids were little, at my side, excited for a shopping trip.
A few short years later my son has lost interest in decorating for Halloween.
I find myself prodding him.
“Please,” I say “decorate”.
As October moves on and all we have are our magazine worthy pumpkins I long for the gore and the blood.
I think back to that mother at HomeGoods and I realize that I did do that. I shopped with him and I decorated with him. I let his creativity shine and loved watching the neighborhood kids' excitement as they walked up to our door for some trick or treats.
I remind myself to appreciate these times that are here now.
And yes, this weekend I'll be the one lugging the bins of tombstones and skeletons up to the front yard knowing that maybe, just maybe, I'll have a little help from a teenager that remembers those trips to HomeGoods as well as I do.