Trick or Treat!
Halloween used to be one of my favorite holidays as a kid! I used to go to school in my costume, we usually had an "easy day" at school and ended it with a party with lots of candies and sweets! What is there not to like about that?
Well since elementary school, fast forward 2 decades and I haven't really been in the Halloween spirit...
I mean I loved staying home and handing out candy to the tiny tots who would come by with such pride in their eyes as they got to become someone else for a day. They show up as their favorite movie character, or hero. Or their favorite animal or fictional princess. It's such a fun day when you're a kid!
I have also always loved seeing even the VERY creative adults and their costumes for Halloween parties. It's amazing the things that people can think of and make for a Halloween costume!
I have never been to a Halloween party as an adult. Since I moved out of my parents house, I have only once stayed home and given out candy to the little Trick or Treaters. I have never had children to send to school in a costume with spooky decorated cupcakes.
As you know, Annaliese was born last year on October 11. Justin and I had plans of getting newborn pictures taken of her in an adorable little spotted ladybug cocoon with an antenna hat that I had someone make for her from Etsy. Well with struggling from lack of sleep and difficulty breastfeeding, we never got around to scheduling pictures right away. By the time she was 2 weeks old, we were setting up dates with a photographer and then it snowed, and quite a bit. We didn't really feel comfortable taking our newborn out in the snow, so we thought we would wait. Well...then on October 27, my Yiayia (grandmother) passed away and on October 29 we ended up taking a 3 1/2 hour long ride in the snow to New Jersey for her funeral which happened to be on October 31.
Needless to say I was a wreck. I probably cried for a full 24 hours. While we were on a huge life "high" from just having our daughter being brought into this world, I was almost 3 weeks postpartum still figuring out how to be a parent on no sleep, and breastfeed and lost a precious family member. We had to drive in a blizzard with a newborn and were forced to leave her with close friends of the family in New Jersey for hours at a time so that my husband could stay with me for the services and support me while I mourned my sweet grandmother.
We woke up that Halloween Monday morning, again with no sleep the night before, and tried to rush to get ready to take Annaliese to our friend's house then make it to the funeral. On the way there I can remember looking out the window and thinking of how many people woke up and were so excited that day because it was Halloween. Kids got to put on their carefully thought out costumes and go to school, have a Halloween party, ...have fun. It seemed like everyone was having fun on that day except my family and I. It wasn't fair.
We made it through the long Greek Orthodox service. I knew my Yiayia had touched many lives in her long 93 years of life. I knew she was an exceptional woman. She was the last of her 6 siblings to survive, she was a strong and supportive wife of 58 years to my late Papou (grandfather) who passed away in 2004, she was a tough, loving and admirable mother of 4, a grandmother of 8 grandchildren, and a great grandmother of 5 great grandchildren. Knowing that my dad had just lost his mother...and just being born into motherhood myself, my heart ached, I'm sure even more than it would have, had I not been a mother.
Everyone had a headache from the strong smell of incense and from crying off and on all day. All I wanted to do was be reunited with my little baby girl. Instead of going to pick her up, we all gathered at a local social club to have brunch. Justin and I left there after we managed to get some food in our stomachs and went to go pick up Annaliese. We arrived to our friend's house, thanked them a hundred times for watching her on an understandably short notice and left to go back to my dad's house and prepare to leave the next day to return home.
Halloween was over before it really ever began for us, a new family of three. We never got to have Annaliese's pictures taken in the little outfit that I had made before she outgrew it.
This Halloween, seemed terribly similar With it being my Yiayia's one year memorial at the Greek church, we had plans to leave this past Saturday, go to the service on Sunday and return home on Monday. Well with hurricane Sandy creeping towards the New Jersey coast, we made the right decision to stay home and prepare for a possible power outage here and not literally head into the storm.
While all of my family in New Jersey and many of my friends here the tri-state area of Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia were left with utter devastation and no power, we tried to make the best of the situation, since we weren't able to be with them. We had purchased another ladybug costume since we were unable to "dress" Annaliese up last Halloween. Although it was in the low 40s here, we still snapped some pictures outside before the trick or treaters started touring the neighborhood.
I do have to say, Annaliese did make one cute little ladybug. :)
Hopefully next Halloween will be a better one. I'll start my prayers now for a stormless Halloween week next year. We'll plan a cute costume for Annaliese and take her trick or treating for the first time. It should be fun! I'm already looking forward to it :)