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The Last Halloween

I’ve gotten to celebrate Halloween for many years thanks to my children. We covered many pumpkin patches and trick-or-treating neighborhoods. Each passing year brought more fun and elaborate costumes, but once the kids started middle school, the celebrations tapered off, with less interest each year. This year, the anticipation and costume planning didn't quite come to fruition. I only hit up one store to buy fabric for the tutu my daughter wanted to wear to dance class, but it was nothing like before when I would run around looking for hard-to-find costumes or accessories or fabric to make costumes.

Once October began, I predicted the end of an era, but as a parting gift, my sixteen year old surprised me by asking me to take her trick or treating on Halloween! She left friends behind to have her mama go with her on what felt like a final hurrah in our book of trick-or-treating adventures. I took it all in and enjoyed every minute of it, stopping every few houses to look around and welcome whatever new stage we might be in next year.

I used to be the cynical mom of young children that ridiculed those that talked about how much they miss this and how much they missed that, and now my time has come to be that sentimental parent having a hard time letting go of a beautiful stage I once shared with enthusiastic children that would screech in happiness at the thought of dressing up and going trick-or-treating.

Closing the door to certain stages in my children’s lives is a lot tougher as they get older. It feels as if my clock is running out on the good old days of being immersed in their activities and holidays. I’ve spent what feels like a lifetime being so involved in every aspect of their lives that it's hard to start letting go a little. So I cry and vent to my therapist and friends about detaching from my role as caretaker, and embracing the part of becoming a witness to young adults coming into their own.

Oh, these vulnerable times! I’ve pulled over on the road to weep when I get the calls asking to go with friends instead of my husband and me to activities. The period of letting my little caterpillars turn into butterflies is here! They want to take flight without Mama at the helm, and as much as I'll weep with joy and a bit of sadness, I'm here for every bit of it. There's a beautiful poem by Naomi Long Madgett that reminded of what I'm going through:

I wouldn’t coax the plant if I were you.
Such watchful nurturing may do it harm.
Let the soil rest from so much digging
And wait until it’s dry before you water it.
The leaf’s inclined to find its own direction;
Give it a chance to seek the sunlight for itself.
Much growth is stunted by too much prodding,
Too eager tenderness.
The things we love we have to learn to leave alone.-Woman With A Flower by Naomi Long Madgett

In hope...I am fearless.

-Fabiola

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