Leave Your Boots On


I love Fall. I truly, madly, and deeply love fall. I like decorating for fall. I like moving into fall sweaters, scarves, jeans, flannel, and boots. Boots can be as beautiful as a tree in the peak of fall colors. Maybe not in the exact same way; I’m just saying boots are special. As I am writing, I can hear the sounds of tractors in the fields harvesting corn. I love that sound! It makes everything seem peaceful and right in the world on this beautiful fall day.

However, along with fall and all of its glory comes Halloween.

Hal·low·een/ˌhaləˈwēn/

noun

1 the night of October 31, the eve of All Saints' Day, commonly celebrated by children who dress in costume and solicit candy or other treats door-to-door.

Halloween is by far not my favorite holiday and I don’t even like to call it a holiday. A holiday is meant to celebrate something. Like Mother's Day, Father's Day, Christmas, even on Valentine's Day we are celebrating our love for others.

Halloween sounded fun, in theory, when the kids were small, but it was hectic too. Finding costumes, school parties, where to trick-or-treat and with who, made for lots of planning. Then, there were the years of in and out of car seats a zillion times to visit the grandparents and close friends. By the third stop, the kids were sugared up and cranky and so was I.

Ok, enough negative. I’ve been looking at pictures of past Halloweens when the kids were little, and they always make me smile. We obviously had some good times as well.

As a kid, I loved Halloween. We didn't have a school party to celebrate the day, but after school we costumed up and went out on the town! I lived in a small town where my siblings and I, along with our cousins, could dash safely from house to house without adult supervision. We planned our route based on how much we could get in the amount of time allotted and also where the “best” houses were. I wouldn't trade these memories for anything. As I sit here reflecting, I can’t even remember what costumes I wore. It was the fun we had trick-or-treating that I remember most.

Then there was October 31, 1986. That was the night we put together a baby swing for our first baby, due on October 23. It was a pathetic evening. I was one week overdue and had a newborn pumpkin costume for our little one, that she would obviously not be wearing. I spent the night watching my husband assemble the swing, pouting, and eating the candy meant for the trick-or-treaters. I also did not want to go into labor that day, as I didn't want my baby to have a Halloween birthday.

Be careful what you wish for! Our daughter did not make her appearance until November 7! Two and a half weeks late and at a healthy 10 pounds. I'm pretty sure she would have been fine had she arrived early. Say, maybe around eight pounds instead.

A year later, we had a cute little clown to take trick-or-treating and yes, it was a lot of fun.


We chose to celebrate that overdue baby's 30th birthday this year on Halloween, since she is going to be AWOL on her actual birthday. So, on Halloween this year, we had a fun family celebration. I could not help but think about how fast thirty years went. That was a long time ago we put together that baby swing!

Here we are celebrating her 30th and really does a night here ever go as planned? Not really; I should know better. We had just finished dinner and presents when the call came in. Uncle Terry got a deer and it needed to be found!

You would have thought they had gotten an Amber alert! Within 5 minutes, the menfolk had deserted the women to go find the deer. Really, guys? I think they ended up with about six guys out there to find a deer in five minutes. I don’t understand it any more than they understand a Kate Spade Flash Sale, so I decided to let it go.

All good, we ended up having a girls' night plus one hyper puppy for entertainment. We had a good time and I reflected later on what a gift all my girls and my mother-in-law are in my life. Not to mention the puppy.

Halloween can also be hurtful though. There was one Halloween where our family was deeply hurt by a prank at the cemetery, where my brother had been buried only weeks before. I am not going to go in to details, but it was nasty. Even though I have forgiven those involved, it will never be forgotten.

For years after the incident, I hated Halloween and I mean hated. It was extremely hard to try and put on a happy face for my kids and get excited about it. I'm pretty sure I did a crappy job of it for quite a few years. Over time, the hate for the day itself has subsided and now it's more of a dislike.

So, where is all this Halloween reflecting going? It has me thinking about how sometimes we have to move on from the hurts in this life. I had to move on from that hurtful event that had the power to destroy me. I am not sure how I did, but somehow over time, October 31st became tolerable. As the kids grew up, I pretty much didn't even have to acknowledge it. I wish I hadn't held on to it for so long. Just like anything else, “What you don’t get over, will get all over you.”

Looking back on what I’ve written today, we really have had some memorable Hoppen Halloweens. In my mind, for many years, they were all bad because of one incident. I am guilty of bundling one bad event into a huge package and thinking it ruined everything surrounding it. It really didn't though, and now I try hard not to let one event or incident put shadows on everything around it.

I did this, recently, when a friend and I had a discussion about turning 50. I said my forties sucked and I was just fine leaving them behind. Really? They sucked, Sherry? Oh yes, that’s right, you became a raging alcoholic - therefore not one good thing happened in your forties. Are you kidding me!? The list is endless of wonderful things that happened in those 10 years! Kids' weddings, graduations, and becoming a Grandma, just to mention a few. Do you see what I had done though? I let one bad thing (granted it was major) hijack ten years in my mind and declare them all terrible. That is what I was choosing to remember about my forties.


But that’s what I was doing. I could not forget what happened that Halloween and I definitely was dwelling on it. It became about what had been done to me and not wanting to forgive the people who did it.

Finally, I believe there was a turning point where I decided that I was not going to let these people or the situation ruin me. It's related to what I did with alcohol. It was time to stop it from ruining me. Believe me, it was. Moving forward can be so hard. It was definitely a choice. It didn't just happen. I wanted to change everything about me and it had to start with quitting drinking. I saw the chance, took it, and have never looked back.


I did it with God and still am, one day at a time. I wrote this in my journal this morning. It’s how I am doing life.

The sky was brilliant this morning and still was fifteen minutes before the sunrise! That’s how life can be-there is brilliance in front of us if we take the time to watch for it to happen. There will be a grand finale in out lives when we get to heaven, just like the sunrise, that results from the brilliance I am looking at right now. But even before “our” sunrise, there is brilliance. It's up to me how much I want to shine.



So this year, on Halloween, I decided to shine. I surrounded myself with my family and celebrated my daughter's 30th. I cooked for them all and my table was full of everyone I love. I reflected on how the day I became a mom was the biggest life changing moment I have ever had. I have never been more in love than when they handed me my girl.

The moral here today is this, if you want anything in your life to change, you have to make that choice. No one else can do it for you.

If it’s another person you want to change, you can only work on you. You You You. People and things are what they are. We are all going to make mistakes and hurt others. You need to make a conscious decision to get over it and move on. Am I hitting a nerve with anyone here? It is exactly what I had to do to overcome a Halloween prank, among many other things in life. I think this quote says it well:


Be the queen of your life today and every day thereafter. Do more than just survive, thrive.

Put on your bad-ass boots or your tiara, and make the change you need to today to move forward. It might help if you start out on your knees, it’s okay if you even leave your boots on.

Peace on your weekend,

Sherry


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