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For The Love Of...Halloween

Last Thursday the wife went to New Orleans on a business trip that would keep her out of town until Sunday. She was pretty busted up about missing our daughter's first, definitively self-aware Halloween. I was too.

It meant I was going to have to do everything by myself.

As the Dad in this operation I take the pictures, I drive, I do the lifting (literally), I pick up the rear. I typically don't initiate activities and from what I understand many fathers don't. On the docket was a Halloween Party in my building, Trick-Or-Treating in my neighborhood and somehow figuring out how to keep my son reigned in.


It's not that I didn't want to experience this with my daughter but I don't initiate conversations. I don't attend children's events to make connections. My focus is solely on my family and their enjoyment. Of course I make nice with other kids because as a father I've now learned how to talk the talk and kids can smell the father on me the same way pets smell animals on humans that own pets, but I'd be lying if I said I eagerly anticipated these events. I honestly think it hails back to my days of being a shy young man from Chi-Town. Beyond that, I have a 14 year-old I had to keep out of trouble and entertained. And attending a kiddie party wasn't going to work for him.

I'm happy to report that I was saved from the apartment building Halloween party thanks to the kindness of a fellow-father-acquaintance who invited me to the Halloween Celebration at the American Museum of Natural History. I rounded up the kids, snagged a teenage niece (by friendship on my wife's side) from Yonkers to come along for the ride and headed to the City.

The streets were teeming with little ones and their parents in costumes. I was most impressed by a mom and pop duo who were dressed as Han Solo and Princess Leia and had their son covered in faux fur as Chewbacca.  And then there was my fairy princess...


She and I spent our time in the City as an inseparable pair. She was the star of the show and I was her handler/PR person. I was on hand to repair one wardrobe malfunction after another, to hold her hand when she got scared by the darker rooms at the museum and to just realize that besides being the most challenging and rambunctious 3 year old I know, she is the very breath I breathe. And where was my son during all this love? After taking all my money to buy a bunch of food he didn't even finish at the food court, he and his cousin took off running and I didn't see them again until the museum closed.


By evening's end I was still tending to my baby, trick or treating back in my rain-soaked neighborhood. I walked behind her with my umbrella over her head while I kept pace one step behind her, stinking of wet wool thanks to the sweater and pageboy cap I wore. And where was my son and my niece? Running the streets of my new suburb with about 30 other teens having the most boring Halloween ever in the pouring rain.

That night my lil' bit and I baked Halloween cookies, carved a pumpkin to look like Dora the Explorer (something I proudly did by freehand), and I went on to single-handedly toast some of the nastiest pumpkin seeds ever in the history of pumpkin seeds. Oh well. It was my first time.


As the weekend came to a close, I realized once more how much I love my job as Dad. But it's not my job. It's who I am and what I do. No matter the challenges nor what I don't want to face nor what I might actually fear, I do it because I love them. Not because I'm supposed to (I mean I am actually supposed to) but because I love them and I need them just as much as they need me.

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