Happy All Hallows Eve to you my frightening little Bloggies!
I hope this year finds you with many a treat and just a few tricks. I decided that in the interest of building our relationship, I would share with you one of my fondest memories from my childhood, and then we can get on with the tales from the crazy people.
When I was just a little girl, my Grandparents had this house (which at the time seemed huge to me because I was so small) on a large piece of land here in Northeast Florida, that was filled with pine trees and twisty paths. Since both my Mom and my Aunt Julie were single working parents, they would often drop me, Josh, Brandon and Zach off with Nan and Pops so that they could go to work or finally just enjoy a night of silence without us (thanks MOM....just kidding, you are amazing :)).
Us kiddies always found something to get into on our own, whether it be go-kart riding, or hole digging ( another story altogether), or tree climbing, the possibilities were endless with a piece of land like that and four young imaginations at work. But sometimes, Nan and Pops would get out there with us to make sure we weren't killing each other and also to enjoy some fun time with the lights of their lives!
On one such night, I'm not sure whose idea it was, but someone suggested a game of hide and go seek in the dark! It may have been Halloween night, but I can't guarantee that fact. So, Pops, being Pops, brought out all 100 of his flashlights and passed them out, and it was boys against girls. I should note that the Moms were there, and so were my Aunt Sally and perhaps my other two boy cousins. There were a lot of us, that's all I know. And the games began! But I, for the life of me, could not figure out why everyone kept finding me so easily!
Then my cousin Josh lovingly pointed it out to me, "It's because you're wearing sneakers with lights in them, DUH!"
So, I ran inside, changed my sneakers, and continued in the fun. It is one of my favorite memories because the whole family was together, playing a game that didn't require a board or pieces or any kind of outside stuff other than each other. I can still remember the laughs and the screams and the fun marshmallow toasting after we all came back inside and turned on the lights.
So, thank you family. And especially to Josh, who to this day would let me know if I were wearing light-up sneakers.
Ok, so now that we have the mushy stuff out of the way, let me give you a good fright with this tale of Target and the stripper costumes.
I was in Target a week or so ago just looking around for some general household items when I decided to go peruse the Halloween section and see if they had anything that I could not live without. They did not, but while I was there, this was the scene I witnessed.
A Mother, with her 7-8 year old daughter, looking at costumes in the childrens' section. The child picks up a costume of a butterfly, and the Mother picks up a costume of some indistinguishable variety that most certainly looks like a stripper. This conversation unfolds:
Child: Mom! Look! It's a butterfly, I want to be a butterfly!
Mom: That's nice, but wouldn't you rather be *insert whatever the thing was here*?
Child: Nooooooo, I want to be a butterfly so I can have wings.
Mom: We can put wings on this.
Why do you want your child to look like a stripper?? Literally, this costume had knee high fishnets, a corset top and some kind of headpiece. That was the costume! And it was very clearly made for a CHILD! Why, when your child wants to be an innocent butterfly, would you not allow her to just be an innocent butterfly???
There are only two reasons I could come up with:
1. The Mom is planning to be a sluttier version of herself for Halloween and doesn't want to be the only one dressed like a pole-dancer, and so rather than own her stripper-ness she is forcing her daughter to join in.
2. The Mother, in some misguided attempt at being "cool" decides that she knows what's best for little girl and makes the executive decision that little girl will be happier in the long-run with the stripper costume.
Because that's what all girls want in life, to be able to look at their childhood photo albums and think, "My Mom was so right, it was definitely better to go with the fishnets than a costume that covered me up but still looked awesome!"
I'm sorry, but when I was younger, and by that I mean until I was 18, I was never allowed out of the house in anything that even slightly resembled a slutty outfit. It may have been drastic, but I once tried to wear actual fishnets to a party with a skirt, and I got the life speech from my Mom.
The life speeches were my Mom's version of spankings. She didn't believe in hitting, so instead she chose long, torturous speeches about how making bad choices can lead to, pretty much always, death.
They went something like this:
"Oh, I see you are wearing (insert anything less than a parka and overalls here). That's fine. I guess the fact that your Father pays for you to go a nice private school and I specifically bought this house in this neighborhood so that you would not be subjected to metal detectors and gun-control in SCHOOL means nothing to you. Do you know what happens when girls dress like that? Teen pregnancy, drugs, death. Those are the choices. Do those choices sound appealing to you? Or would you rather enjoy a wonderful education, and then college so you can get a decent job and someday marry a nice boy? And by the way, you don't actually get a choice. You're going to college. Now go change."
But the joke was on her! College, college, college. A whole SEVEN YEARS of it. So long that she actually considered I might never graduate. HA!
But really, that's more like five life speeches cherry picked for the most severe parts and all crammed together. The real life speeches lasted like 45 minutes and included all kinds of scary possibilities of what would happen if I did not make good grades, dress like a lady, and go to college. Those were pretty much my Mom's three biggest things. But you get the idea.
Long story longer, I just could not believe what I was seeing in the costume aisle of Target. I wanted to run up and tell the Mother, "No! Let her be the bug, you horrible person!"
Is it just me? Is this the new thing? Brian and I see kids these days dressed like little hookers, and we always say the same thing, "We will never let our kids do that." Because we both agree that parenting is not a popularity contest. If your kids like you, you're doing something wrong. Parenthood should be an 18 year project of getting your kids to not like any of the choices you are making for them, because those choices are not the easy or fun ones, but rather the ones that you choose because they give your kid the best shot at having a better life than you did.
I can remember car rides with my Mother in which I would climb into the backseat just to show her that I would NOT talk to her, or crying and telling her she was ruining my life for not letting me go to a party where there were no parents, or one particularly loud meltdown in a boutique (where she shopped all the time so I'm sure this one was a special moment for her) when she would not buy me this really short dress to wear to homecoming, and I told her I would "never speak to you again if you do not buy me this dress!!" and to which she replied, "Good! It means not having to listen to this hormonal nonsense! Do you want a life speech right here, in public??" That shut me up.
Why do parents these days think it is ok to dress their children like street-walkers?
How about you bloggies? Do you see these kinds of things and think, "Is it just me?"
Wishing you frights and delights,
P.S. I would like to note that I chose some not-very-flattering moments from my teen hood to share here to highlight the tough choices parents sometimes have to make. On the whole, I was a good kid. I always made straight A's, mostly read books instead of going out (I just REALLY wanted to live it up when I was invited to a party because it didn't happen very often), and always always always came home well before curfew. See Mom? You were SO lucky with me. :)