Homesick Halloween...

Halloween is a holiday. I realize this now.
It is a holiday with traditions. And my family is big on tradition.

We have birthday dinners in the dining room with crepe paper streamers and balloons. The cake comes on a red plate with white lettering that reads "You are Special Today!" We have silly Bert and Ernie napkins and plates- even though the Eldest Unnamed One is turning 19. We do this because "It is tradition."

Somehow I thought the Eldest Unnamed One would leave for college shaking off our traditions like toilet paper stuck to his feet in a men's room stall, unwanted and unnecessary. I thought he would be too "cool" for traditions.

As usual, I was wrong.

The silly, sometimes serious, little things we do on each holiday really matter.

I found this out when a little bird told me he was having a bad day yesterday. Something about a test grade not living up to his expectations...I listened to his words but there was more behind them. And then I realized...It's Halloween.

On Halloween we string orange and purple lights everywhere, eyeballs flash from behind branches, pumpkins glow with garish smiles. We plant the fog machine behind the pumpkin and the Youngest Unnamed One blasts billows of smoke out across the brick walkway just as the tricker treaters are within range.

Bags of candy are given out, costumes and ages critiqued, pleasant mischief is afoot...and the Eldest Unnamed One was in Chapel Hill and for the first time in his life- not a part of it all.

"Are you homesick?" I asked finally.

"I guess," he said.

And then, I was too. Homesick for my baby. Homesick for my entire family all piled up together, laughing and hugging, teasing and fighting.

It seems if one of us is homesick, we all are homesick.

This weekend the Eldest Unnamed One turns 19. He'll be back from Chapel Hill and we will drag out every sappy, tacky birthday decoration and I will bake a chocolate cake with thick gooey chocolate icing and we will serve it on the red plate in the dining room and this weekend no one will be homesick.

We will recharge, like worn batteries needing a lift. We'll do this with laughing and teasing and hugging and good food and remembering...But even more importantly, we will be weaving the invisible, unbreakable strings that tie us one to another forever.

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