The Unexpected Joy of My Divorce

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Photo Credit: The Leo Loves

I was sitting on a secret for almost a week before I decided to call my father. He had noticed I was distant the past few months but I didn’t let on that it was anything more than stress at work, stress with the kids or the usual busyness of life. I could tell he wasn’t buying it when his replies became, “Ok honey, just know I’m always here for you.” It was ripping my heart out that I hadn’t told him yet, but I just wasn’t ready for it to be real.

So the day that my then husband and I chose to tell our parents about our separation, well, let’s just say it was dreaded. I called the man who had been the one person in my whole life who believed in me. Not the only person, but the constant. As the phone rang one after another after another, I almost hung up, as if it was a sign that today wasn’t the day. The lump in my throat held the biggest disappointment my father would ever know.

One thing I had already decided was that I would not be telling him I was in love with a woman. I wanted to be honest with my father that day, not kill him. I fought back the tears as I heard the last ring cut short, and his voice say, “hello?”

The pitch of his voice told me he was surprised to see my call coming through. Being that I used to call or text him every day, you can only imagine the assumptions he had to play with when I ghosted him. I gathered my courage and prepared to let my father down. The man who I built my entire world around. The only man I ever sought approval from. My biggest cheerleader is about to find out that his perfect daughter is flawed.

I swallowed the lump in my throat rather than choke on it and held the tears back for now and told my dad that things aren’t quite what they seem. My marriage has fallen apart and I no longer want to be married anymore.

The silence killed me. My step-mother was also on the line, and I kept imagining the looks they were exchanging on the other end of the telephone. I knew my father was trying to wrap his head around what I was saying as I stammered through my explanation, broken and incapable of making sense. He read my desperation and fear. Desperate to be told it would “be ok,” and fear that he wouldn’t love me anymore.

So he began to speak. He spoke slow, and clear. Anyone who knows my father knows that he’s a man of few words when it comes to feelings. He prefers to skip over that part and acknowledge emotions in short spurts, preferably during milestone moments. But when it comes to me, he’s all-in 365 days a year. There’s no holding back with his baby girl.

“Oh honey, I knew something was going on. I thought you might be having a hard time. I am quite surprised and have many questions, but that will wait for another time. I love you, honey and nothing will ever change that. And you need to be happy. Life is too short not to be. I will always love you, ok?”

My father has been married to his 3rd wife for 20+ years. Often times I speak with him about things that he’s not experienced in, but this, he’s been here before. He has experience here and his love and understanding was the most pure that I’d ever felt it.

In that conversation, he didn’t break, because he knew I was breaking. He didn’t pry, because he knew there was more to the story that I wasn’t ready to share. And he didn’t react, because he knew I was anticipating the worst.

Two weeks later I told him I was in love with a woman I work with. But to be honest, I was more nervous to tell him about my separation than I was about switching teams. He loved my ex-husband very much and still does. I wasn’t the only one married to him, so was my whole family. This wasn’t just my loss or his loss, we all lost.

So, when I came out about Her, I was prepared for shock, and dismay. I was never fearful of disapproval because my younger sister is gay and my father has been nothing but accepting. But his reaction floored me. I cried from sheer unexpectedness. He said to me, “Yea, I figured.”

“I’m sorry, WHAT?! What do you mean, you figured?”

He went on to shock me over and over again during that conversation. He gave me some of the best advice I have ever been given, and he single-handedly saved my life in the 30 minutes we spoke. Because what I didn’t know was that I was about to embark on the hardest year of my life. I was going to need him, his compassionate heart, his open ear, his steady shoulder, and all of his love every-single-day. I was going to need a best friend. When I no longer had one, he became my best friend. I was going to need my Daddy in ways I had never needed him and ways he couldn’t have imagined he’d be needed. And I was going to need to reflect back on that conversation just to get through the days to come.

To say he rose to the challenge of fatherhood would be an understatement. I know he had days of sadness, confusion and helplessness surrounding my divorce. I know he had questions that he waited months sometimes to have answered. I know he had an opinion on more than one occasion, but I would never know it. Not one time did he make me feel like I owed him anything in the process. He let me go to him, and stopped everything to be there when I did.

He gave me the gift of acceptance, unconditional love, and joy. I have always been close with my dad, but he has truly been the most unexpected joy of this whole godawful thing called divorce.

Just the other day I called him with a lump in my throat. That lump disappeared when I heard his voice and cried my eyes out. He calmed me down, normalized all of my feelings and said, “You need to come see me. You need your daddy.”

“Yes, daddy I need you. I will always need you.”

When the Kids Leave

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Photo Credit: Pexels.com

Ok, so here’s the honest to goodness truth, divorce sucks. I know, shocker. The process is horrific, painful and gut-wrenching. Sharing custody of your children can really suck, too. But it can also give you, as a parent, the break you never knew you needed. I can’t tell you the last time (before my divorce) that I had two consecutive days of silence at home. It never existed, but that doesn’t mean I enjoy it all the time, or even most of the time.

It takes me less than 24 hours to not just miss my kids, but yearn to smell their skin and breathe in their sleepy, smelly breath. It can turn a sane person crazy. And by day two, I’m running to their door to embrace them and kiss their fluffy cheeks smeared with crusted peanut butter and Doritos. Let’s just say, I’m THAT mom and I don’t do well without my babies.

But holidays without the kids, that could cause death by a broken heart to any parent. The longing for your children, the deafening silence, the loneliness, it’s compounded intensely during the holidays. And it SUCKS.

Catch me on a Monday morning after having them since Friday and I’m singing a different tune. I’m overwhelmed, sleep deprived, lacking patience and edgy. A few days off doesn’t just sound good, it’s a necessity for my survival. Then as co-parents, we ask ourselves, “how do single mothers without shared custody do it?” It’s a vicious cycle of guilt, love and overwhelm that literally depends on the day.

But the holidays; I’d do anything to hear my child whining because there’s a “vegetable in my spaghetti.” I’d do anything to hear the call from the bathroom to “COME WIPE MY BUTT!” I’d do anything not to sleep all night because I’m sandwiched between two heaters who have no concept of personal space. I’d do anything.

And it sucks, because there’s absolutely nothing I can do.

But what I can do is plan for the reunion. I call the first night of reunification, “the honeymoon.” We will embrace, kiss, snuggle, tell each other how much we missed each other, and do all the things we missed doing. Then, we’ll plan for the weekend. “Let’s get a Christmas tree this weekend! Let’s go to Chuck E Cheese’s! Let’s see a movie! Let’s go to the beach!” We will talk about how we will do ALL THE THINGS together!

Then the kids will begin fighting because they are brothers and that’s what they do. My anxiety will start to heighten, and I’ll raise my voice for the first time since they came home. From there it’s all downhill, because once mom has raised her voice, it’s a free for all to piss her off. The overwhelm kicks in and empty threats start flying like Nerf darts to my ass.

I’ll lay in bed thinking about that one week I had without them. That agonizing week where I was empty and almost dead inside. That week where I was sure I might die of a broken heart. I’ll wonder why I didn’t enjoy at least one solid hour of peace. Being a mother will once again confuse my mind and play tricks on my heart.

I’ll swear to myself that next weekend, I’m going to do a spa day. I’m going to do so many things for myself without guilt. I’m going to go out with the girls for drinks, and stay up past 10pm. I’m going to go on a road trip without a plan. Next weekend I’m going to do ALL THE THINGS for myself and soak in every second of freedom. But first, I’ll give myself a pep talk and pray about getting through this weekend with the kids.

“Dear Lord, 

Give me strength to withstand the backtalk I am about to endure for three days straight. Give me courage to rise above the farts in a literal way so the smell does not torch my lungs. Let the love flow out of me like the darts my pre-pubescent son shoots from his eyes. And most importantly, give me patience to survive the whining, because while it will likely be the death of me one day, I’d be so happy to survive this weekend in order to make it to my spa day next weekend. 

Amen”

The weekend will come and I’ll dread when they remember their grand Chuck E. Cheese’s idea, but instead they’ll ask to go on a bike ride to the park. I’ll wait for them to announce all the toys they want to take to the beach, but they’ll choose to relax and binge watch a Netflix show together. And as I plan for how I’m going to rearrange my whole house to fit the nine foot tree they’ll pick out, we will spend Sunday in the backyard doing sidewalk chalk and watering plants in our pajamas.

We won’t do any of the things we said we’d do this weekend. It will be unexpected, off the cuff and fulfilling. It will contain laughter and skipping a shower. We will be taken off guard by its greatness, it will go by in a flash, and it surely won’t go according to plan.

It will be so much better, just like parenting.

And then they’ll leave. And I’ll feel empty inside.

But they’ll come back, with a vengeance.

 

 

The Problem with Change

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Do you like change or do you hate it? Do you thrive off it or does it paralyze you? Are we meant to stay the same forever, or does learning happen in the process of change, growth and evolution? I think we all know the answer, so why are we all so damn afraid of it? Why does the idea of change feel like a death sentence?

I grew up surrounded by change. My parents divorced at a young age. We moved around a lot and I was the new girl in class at several different schools. To this day, I hate being the “new girl” anywhere I go. Experiencing so much change in such a short amount of time caused me to despise it. If I did nothing else as an adult, I promised myself I’d avoid change at all costs in order to protect the greater good and me. I wouldn’t ruffle feathers, I would consider everyone else before myself, I would play it safe and I sure as hell would not put my kids through what I had been through. Maybe not the most realistic outlook, but how many 11 year-olds do you know that are realistic?

How we are raised has almost everything to do with how we will eventually see the world. It has much to do with what we will want or not want for our futures and for our families. Our desires and goals will stem from the traditional ideals and values each of our family units prioritize and experience during our upbringing.

I decided as a young girl that I would marry one time, have babies and raise them to accept everyone as they are, as they wish to be, and that also meant acceptance if they changed. Well, with the exception of me. I wasn’t allowed to change. Change for myself meant failure; failure to uphold the plan, failure to follow-through, failure to live up to my own expectations, and therefore everyone else’s expectations of me.

Entering adulthood, becoming a mother and wife quickly awoke me to the realization that my perspective may not be the most conducive, and I may need to bend a little in order to make room for my own happiness. A slow process of change began to happen. But I’d draw the line when it came to my family unit. I had decided that I’d forever have my picture-perfect family, because I didn’t have one as a child, and life would have been better if I had, obviously.

For someone who was so accepting of others, I wasn’t very accepting of myself. I couldn’t change; I wouldn’t change, even if I was unhappy, because I had to prove the little girl in me right. Keeping my family together would be the best thing for all of us.

So when it wasn’t the best thing for me, a change in me began to take place, one I didn’t know was actually happening until it was too late and something had to be done. Something had to give. I had to make a change. I had to change.

“What a failure I am! I can’t even keep one damn promise to myself. I can’t just suck it up and do it for the sake of my family, or at the very least, my children. What an awful mother I am and an even worse wife.  Who do I think I am to believe that I deserve something for myself? What happened to doing things for the greater good, Alison? Who the hell have you become? No one even knows you anymore. You’ve changed!”

I truly believed that because I changed, that meant I lied. It meant I lied about what I wanted, what my intentions for my family and our future actually were. It meant that I was no longer worthy of the love of others because I had unintentionally fooled them and myself. And now they’ve shunned me, or spoken the most untrue words behind my back, or forgotten me. And I believed I deserved it.

I believed I deserved the abandonment, and the hateful words flying at my phone and at my face. I believed I deserved to suffer because after all, this was my entire fault. The greater good was no longer good. It was disappointment, shock, sadness and judgment. I had changed.

I didn’t mean to change. I didn’t do it on purpose. I didn’t want to hurt anyone. I didn’t want to suffer. But I changed and I couldn’t take it back. I couldn’t even tell you the moment it happened. It was gradual, suppressed, ignored and denied until it could no longer be. And here I am, changed.

I am also free of my own failures, failures that were never failures but hard lessons. I am free of my own expectations, because I never expected to change, and yet it happened, and that’s ok. I am free of my own judgments. I am free of my own disappointments.

I am free.

I have changed.

Thank God, I have changed.

Introducing the BLOG Store

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Well if this isn’t a long time coming, I don’t know what is! I’ve had SO MANY requests for a Store on the blog. What I hear most often when I write memes or little quips is, “I’d totally wear that on a shirt!”

Well, NOW you CAN!

This is coming to you, my loyal subscribers first, and I’m going to give you a code that will give you $5 off all purchases up until November 25th. The code to enter at checkout is HONESTY. These t-shirts will make amazing holiday gifts for the moms in your life. As of now, I have womens V-neck t-shirts of the best quality!

IF you’re looking for a different style (crew neck, sweatshirt, etc.), all you have to do is leave me a comment or shoot me an email through the ‘contact’ tab and I’ll be sure to add it to the availability.

I’ll be adding more to the store soon, so stay tuned!

All Good Things…

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I’ve come to the realization that things are never quite what they seem. I don’t care if I’m looking at a bucket of sand. Maybe it’s not a bucket of sand, maybe it’s the remnants of a fossil, broken and finely crushed over time. Time so gradual that no one even noticed the fossil turned to pebbles; turned to dust.

They say, all good things come to an end, but I never believed that to be true. I figured, sure, if we choose things to end, than I guess that can be true, but never did I believe it to be inevitable. But if I’m being realistic about it, we all die, so for us, in our experience everything does end. But my marriage? No. My marriage was rock solid.

I didn’t know one other woman on this planet that had anything close to what I grasped in the palm of my hands. A husband who would move mountains to make me happy. Someone who worked tirelessly for his family, and a father beyond my wildest dreams. What’s to be unhappy about? Well, I wasn’t. At least I didn’t know I was.

If you read my writing, you know just how deep I feel. Not just for myself but for others. I can literally feel other’s pain. It’s the most terrible and most beautiful gift I possess. It gives me life, yet also gives me such anxiety to think of others suffering. My point is, I’m sensitive, empathetic and emotional. Really fucking emotional. Let’s not confuse “emotional” with “unstable.” Sure I can be unstable, we all can, but what I’m saying is, I lead with my heart. I listen to my gut. And this part of me isn’t just a piece of me, it’s most of me if not all of me. It’s the biggest part of me. It’s what drives my purpose in this existence, and to understand me is to know this part of me.

My marriage was rock solid. Except for the stake of not feeling understood, which was softly beating down on the rock that was my marriage. It was soft enough that I could barely feel it. I was sure it wasn’t doing much damage, and would eventually go away. I could have bigger problems than not feeling understood by a man who gave me the world. I felt selfish for even having such feelings, and came to the conclusion that what I really needed was to be grateful. I was obviously spoiled and ungrateful. Looking past something so small as not feeling “gotten” should be easy enough.

Until it wasn’t.

So I’d do what any wife would do, ask to talk about it. Express myself in 12 different analogies and then beat a dead horse until tears saturated my pillowcase. That feeling of release to the man who gives me the world was not just cathartic, it was healing to know he wanted to improve our emotional connection. And just the sheer fact of him wanting to try, that was enough to keep me “happy.” Because what is there to be unhappy about?

As time ticked on, and years flew by, babies were born, parents were born, growth plagued us with pain and stretched us to greatness. Passions were realized and moves were made. A husband and wife who pursued their professional and personal happiness, as a team, united for their children and loving one another unconditionally. What is there to be unhappy about? Sure, I didn’t feel like my heart was understood, but if that was my biggest problem, I must be spoiled and ungrateful. Staying grateful, and praising the man who gives me the world, yes this is how I’ll feel better. This will help me to feel happier.

Until I couldn’t pretend anymore.

So I’d communicate. Communicate my feelings, my grief, and express the emptiness inside that I haven’t been able to fill. I’d explain these things to a man who looked at me so deep, with tears in his eyes, yearning to understand me, and telling me he’ll do better. But I couldn’t understand what he needed to do better. He was perfect. A saint if you will. Sure he didn’t understand me emotionally, but he wanted to, and to watch a man so loving, so caring, want something so bad, he was the love of my life. Well he loves me a hell of a lot, so he must be the love of my life.

How many years would go by until I felt like I was understood? Maybe I just needed to stop feeling so much and focus more on my kids, or making my husband happy. Lord knows I wasn’t the best wife in the world. You couldn’t domesticate me if you tried.  I hated cooking, and cleaning felt like a waste of time because it would all be a mess again.

What is this emptiness? Wait. Stop! Focus focus focus, on anything else but that.

My marriage was rock solid, but I was wearing thin. That stake beating down softly has gotten heavier, or maybe harder? Either way, it hurts, and it’s harder to ignore. Well I’ll be honest, I was never able to ignore it, but I tried. I’d begun noticing cracks in our foundation, in me; pieces of me crumbling everywhere. I’d try to pick them up as they fall but they’re falling at a rapid pace and I can’t keep up. This can’t be dissatisfaction. I have the most incredible and compassionate partner, what’s to be dissatisfied about? What is there to be unhappy about?

I must be depressed.

I’d go to the doctor, get on meds, and in 6 weeks start feeling like a new person. This is amazing! THIS is what was wrong with me! I can’t believe I’d been living with such a cloud over me for so long. I’m able to get out of bed, not be as anxious and enjoy my family more. It was amazing.

Until it wasn’t.

And I was back where I started, feeling empty, void, misunderstood. I was yearning for connection, for emotional understanding, to share my passion and bigger purpose with the one I love. He knows me, he gets me to a point, he wants to understand me. So badly he wants to understand me. Why does this not feel like it’s enough? Why? Will one more conversation cure it? Will 5 more years numb it out of me? I need to stop being spoiled and ungrateful. BE GRATEFUL! You have the world in your arms every night, so why do I feel so far away? Why do I feel like he’s chasing me, trying to catch me, why does he look so sad, like he’s never had me?

Oh my god, he’s never had me.

I’m lost. I’ve never felt so fucking disappointed in myself in all my life. I’m an awful person for feeling unhappy in my rock solid marriage. The stake has turned into a jackhammer and I’m disappearing. There’s barely anything left of me. Pebbles everywhere quickly turning to finely beaten sand. Where did I go?

And then I looked up, and there she was.

Motherhood is a Spiritual Experience

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I don’t care what your faith is, what color you are, what shape you are, or what language you speak. Whether a higher power has always been present in your life, or you believe your destiny is solely based on being a good person who does the right thing to the best of your ability. It never changes the greatness and unparalleled experience of motherhood. If you believe you’ve never had a spiritual experience in your life, and you’re a mother, yes you have.

If you follow me, you know I didn’t grow up in the church. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have a faith. I’ve always had a faith. One of my earliest memories is when I asked God into my heart as a young girl. It was an awkward gesture, one that I would never classify as “bad,” but one that never felt natural to me by any means. I couldn’t tell you why it didn’t feel quite right, but I spent much of my early childhood going through the motions for other people’s approval.

And although I wasn’t sure about God, or who my higher power was, I’ve always been spiritual. I’ve always felt connected to something, I just didn’t know what it was for a very long time. Today if you asked me what my connection to faith is, I’d tell you that I’m incredibly connected. I’m connected to the most inner parts of my soul. I believe in a higher power. I believe in the power of prayer, and I believe I’ve experienced the greatest parts of these moments through motherhood.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked at my children and told them, “you saved my life.” I’ve whispered it in their ears as they laid skin-to-skin on my chest after giving birth. I’ve whispered it in their ears as I watched them while they slept. I’ve whispered it in their ears as they lay fevered in my cooling palms. I’ve told them directly to their faces, watching them attempt to understand what I could possibly mean by that statement, “you saved my life.”

Wandering this beautiful disaster of a world we live in, without the connection of motherhood, I was reckless. I was on a blind path heading toward a destination unknown. I was searching for purpose, connection and reason. I was a good, decent person, digging for truths and answers, never understanding that most answers could never really be found in the places I was searching.

Once I began growing life in my womb, a flame was ignited. I felt an incredible responsibility to take this job as a mother very seriously, spiritually. I grew a little being by the natural capabilities of my own body. I brought that being into this world, and nurtured it day and night. I became connected to an extension of my soul. I created a purpose. I created life.

If that isn’t a spiritual experience, I don’t know what is.

I’ve carried that responsibility with me every day as my experience doubled. I’ve been allowed to mother two incredible souls, who I believe, chose me. This daunting road of motherhood has taught me more than I ever thought possible. Love, and lessons. I don’t believe I would be half the person I am today had I not become a mother when I did.

This blind bliss of motherhood has answered every question I’ve ever had. This magical experience has kept me connected to my faith, my destiny and my own spirituality, because I could never look at motherhood as anything more than the most gigantic, challenging, test of willpower, strenuous, euphoric, overwhelming miracle that I’ll ever have the chance of experiencing. When we become mothers, we become reborn. We shift, we transcend into another part of ourselves. We adapt, we survive, we protect, and it’s innate. We love with no bounds. There’s no end, there’s no beginning. This is it. This is what it’s all about. That feeling. That love. That never-ending, unconditional, heartbreaking love. That is motherhood. And that is spiritual.

Don’t Tell Me Halloween is Just One Day Out of the Year

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If you’re a parent, you’re hyper-aware that Halloween isn’t just one day out of the year. No. We WISH it was, but no. Halloween isn’t just a tutu, a mask, or a simple costume, no. It’s practically its own goddamn season.

Halloween begins at least 4 weeks before October 31st. If you’re really festive, maybe a few months prior. Moms everywhere ask, “sweetie, what do you want to be for Halloween this year?” It can take anywhere from 2 minutes from the time you asked the question, to 2 minutes before it’s time to go trick-or-treating for children to make a solid decision.

Sometimes mothers begin making costumes (yes MAKING them) only to have their sweet offspring change their ever loving mind just as the last stitch is sewn in the seam. It’s a defeating feeling, but one mothers aren’t foreign to.

Sometimes children claim to have “told you a long time ago” what they want to be but we know that never happened, but we have to pretend we have it under control. And it becomes a shit show resembling the game show, “Supermarket Sweep” but in real life (I’m dating myself), except at Halloween Express, and Party City, and Target, and Walmart, and K-Mart, resulting in Amazon PRIME (RUSH THE FUCKING COSTUME HERE RIGHT FUCKING NOW, PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD) shipping.

Don’t even get me started on the candy situation. It shows up in Target the same day the Pumpkin Spice Latte is brought back to Starbucks, and moms everything begin spending 4 days a week in Target ranging anywhere from 9am to 2:33pm (because it takes exactly 12 minutes to get from the Target parking lot to the kids’ school pick up lot). It’s bad on the wallet, husbands everywhere are pissed that we needed more “deodorant, or make-up wipes again,” which is actually code for “I’m going to Target to buy whatever the fuck I want because I birthed kids.” So we end up leaving Target with 2 more bags of Halloween candy, a throw pillow, a new coffee mug (because you promised you’d try to start kicking your Starbucks addiction and make coffee at home – HA yea right!), and one last Starbucks coffee.

The candy gets eaten in less than a week because it’s that time of month for mom, or the kids act like they didn’t know it was for Halloween, or mom acts like she didn’t know it was for Halloween, or it’s Wednesday. We don’t need to throw blame around, the fact of the matter is, we WILL go through at least 6 more bags of candy before we actually buy the candy that will be given out on Halloween night. That’s the way it’s always been, and it’s the way it’s always gonna be.

The school Fall Festivals are the nail in the coffin for me. By the time I’m done spending my WHOLE weekend running around to all the different schools, playing all the different games, eating shit food, collecting plastic spider rings and rubber bats, and spending all my fortunes on DONATING to whatever fucking school fundraiser it is this month, I’m ready to kiss Halloween’s ass GOODBYE.

But no.

We still have to have costume day at school. So we do a dress rehearsal if you will. Then our children decide that they don’t want to wear that costume on Halloween night after all because the velcro on the back is too itchy. So we scour the land for another costume and all we can find is a Power Ranger costume that is 5 times too big, and $40 too much from the local Halloween Shack. Mom becomes desperate, buys it and cuts it up in order to make it fit. Kid smiles. yay.

Is it over yet?

Nope.

Halloween night arrives. Parents everywhere see the light at the end of the tunnel as the whiny, sugar induced goblins begin to crash somewhere around block 3 from the house. As parents carry their overloaded chocolate consumers for blocks while lugging around the 50 pound pumpkin bucket full of sugar, sleep feels so close…

But once you hit the front porch, the kids fall out of their costumes and into the candy bucket. Or better yet, some just sleep in their costumes as they hug their bucket, fearful that the candy may disappear over night like last year (and parents deny they had anything to do with it).

And for the next 10 days our children are demanding to get into their costumes again and again and again. They’re demanding to eat dessert after every meal, for every snack, or in substitution for every meal. It’s a fucking nightmare. And this is why parents have no choice but to eat the candy while the kids are in bed. It’s called sacrifice.

Halloween is not just one day out of the year, no. Halloween is the beginning of the holiday season that sends every parent into bankruptcy, panic and insanity. But fortunately, there’s chocolate all season long.

Until next year, Halloween. I thank you for the chocolate left behind and the pictures I’ll blackmail my kids with in the near future.

PEACE!