There’s a superhero in our midst. Here’s a clue: He’s little and blond and has a smile wider than Ohio.
My little guy couldn’t be more excited for Halloween. This year, Halloween means an extra helping of imagination onto a mind that is already overflowing with the thrill of play. Instead of running around with his froggy towel on his head, proclaiming himself a ‘Super Ooo!,’ he now gets to wear an actual uniform, complete with yellow belt, red cape and a bold ‘S’ on his chest. So far, he’s flown his way through a Halloween concert, a Halloween play date and a Halloween preschool party. Yet to come, the hero will attend a Halloween library event and, for the very first time, go trick-or-treating. The latter, as this half of the country recovers from Frankenstorm, will be a weather-dependent outing.
Last year, we dressed him up as Yoda. A good-humored kid, he submitted quite willingly to wearing the green hat with the big ears and the soft white robe. But, the costume was clearly for our enjoyment and merely a puzzlement for him. Now, at 2-and-three-quarters, the choice of costume was his to make and the enjoyment is as much his as ours. This is the first Halloween that he is really able to embrace, on his own terms.
A few weeks ago, we stumbled onto a gigantic pile of leaves in one of our local parks. It was a golden fall afternoon, and Liam and two of his toddler buddies frolicked for the better part of an hour in the foliage. They dove and fell and wriggled and threw and laughed and laughed and laughed. At one point the three of them actually twirled in circles, their arms spread wide in delight. Joy in its rawest form.
To witness is to experience. I may not be twirling in leaf piles or running around in a superhero costume, but as a parent, I can’t help but be drawn back into the sweetness of childhood. My life as an adult is too often harried and stressful. Through Liam, I get to glimpse again a simpler time, when what was real was play and what was leaves was fun. Happy Halloween, everyone.