The call came in mid-morning as I expected it would. The one that says something along the lines of the tummy hurting and the pause long enough after to imply that I should probably go and pick him up.
I pushed a little bit and asked if it was really the tummy or more a discomfort with the day. He confirmed, probably with a nod on the other end that I couldn’t hear. Yeah, that.
When I questioned further there was hesitancy in his voice and I could tell that the truth wasn’t going to come out in this phone call so I let him off the hook and happily announced that I’d be there in ten minutes.
We’re not haters of Halloween around here. I know it’s what might come across with our lack of trick or treating and the longing to go home mid-day on what should be a fun one at school. I know that it may look like we’re making some religious stance on this celebration but we’re not. We’re simply loving our people. And our people don’t like it.
One of the things that’s important to me as a parent is that my boys feel loved and safe. This doesn’t mean they’re wimpy. It doesn’t mean they’re sheltered. It means that they know I love them. End of story. Nothing they do can change that. Nothing they share can hinder it. Even when I might be upset or impatient or frustrated, still I love.
I always want them to know that they are safe here, in our home, with our tribe. I want them to know that we will do our best to orchestrate their life in such a way that they do not have to feel harm might come their way. They do not need to feel uncomfortable in their surroundings. The do not need to fear their day to day. Do we push them and challenge them and stretch their boundaries? Absolutely! This doesn’t mean never making them try something new or take on a challenge that might make them feel anything but brave. But it does mean that when the fear adds nothing to their life in general, as far as courage or strength, then I won’t push them.
So the gore, the blood, the fake stitches and the glowing red eyes? They don’t add a certain quality to my littles life. They just scare him. The bones and the costume with guts oozing out and the white faces with black eyes and dribbles of blood coming out of the mouth? Yeah, they don’t make him feel super safe.
We’re not haters or religiously opposed. We’re just loving our tribe and standing behind our values of loved and safe. Today at school, he didn’t feel either of those things. But I pushed him to go. To be brave. To remember that he is strong and courageous. We prayed that God would not give him a spirit of fear but of power. We remembered that this is a day that the Lord has made, just like any other, and that we would rejoice and be glad in it, just like any other.
Except sometime mid-morning it got to his tummy and he just wanted home. Love. Safety.
And what parent would deny a little munchkin that?
We spent our rainy day snuggling on the couch watching old home movies from when he was a baby. We laughed and copied the little mispronounced words. We looked at each other and we knew that this place was exactly where we should be!
So we won’t go out tonight but hopefully we’ll get to hand out candy to some cute little bunnies or skunks or pumpkins. I’m sure we’ll eat our fill too!
Happy Halloween, homies! May you and yours be safe tonight and love each other well, whatever that looks like for you!