With little time for anything, we spent the last weekend of October in Salinas with family. The trip was planned around our family pictures, but it was also a chance for us to get away. Finally a weekend that Mommy didn't have to work. Finally a chance to do something together that wasn't haircuts or grocery shopping. The flip side to that was, that in order for Mommy to get that time off, some sacrifices had to be made. There would be no Girl Scout Halloween Activity attended on Saturday. Mommy would have to work the Monday of the Preschool pumpkin patch trip. Instead we took a detour on the way home and stopped at the Pumpkin Junction at Casa de Fruta. I've lived in California my whole life, I've passed Casa de Fruta countless times on my way from my old home in Salinas to my new home in Fresno, and the only time I've stopped at Casa de Fruta was to get gas or go pee. That's the honest to God truth. It's also a sad truth because this place was fun. Maybe it didn't have a thousand pumpkins or hayrides or fancy Pinterest worthy gourds. But it had a place to sit, a place to play, and some pumpkins available for purchase. It was more than enough, it was plenty.
So no, we didn't have our Halloween shirts on, or fall colors, or even our hair combed for the day. What we had were smiles. We had sugar coursing through our veins. And we had the excitement and curiosity of exploring a new place.
We didn't have a multitude of choices, but really pumpkins are pumpkins. Mac wanted a big one, Caitlin wanted a big one and a little one, and mommy just wanted ones that weren't rotten. We found what we were looking for. Then we found more in the fruit stand. Pomegranate juice. Gatorade. Dried cranberries. Chocolate peanut butter cups as big as cupcakes. We bought a few things, snacked on a few things, and then decided to stop and have dinner.
The stop and have dinner thing was kind of a big deal. Not because we like to starve, but after we spend the night in Salinas, we are usually in a big rush to get home. To pretend to unpack, to pretend to care about things like laundry and getting the kids to bed on time. Also, as we sat down to dinner, the World Series game had just started. The entire plan was to be home by the game. Instead we sat, we ate, we laughed, and we drew pictures on place mats and ordered things like pizza and fried chicken in a little roadside restaurant. And while it wasn't fancy, and the food was so so, it was enough. It was perfect.
After our trip to Salinas, the upcoming week was a blur. More than that it was a disaster. A chaotic mess of obligations and responsibilities. Until Thursday. Thursday was my day off. I got to take this little Missy to her Halloween party and I absolutely swooned at the cuteness of her as princess Belle. She is getting to be so grown up, and with that she has developed a sense of detail. Like the shoes and the nylons, and the we have to wear it headband that she didn't really like, but it was a must. And no I didn't make it, and I bought it well before Halloween, and yet, it was enough. Enough to see this smile. Enough to marvel at the little things that she loves.
And even in all that chaos, and even in all that mess, I still managed to pull this costume out of my ass. This is the cotton candy costume that this girl though up all by herself. It doesn't look a think like the one I saw on Pinterest, thank God, but it wasn't that easy to put together. See, when she asked if she could be cotton candy, I did my research. I went on line and looked and did the whole "Can I make it/Should I buy it" debate. But this is Caitlin, my first born. The one I always try to do my very best for, and usually fail miserably in the process. And by being the first born, she remembers that Mommy has in the past "made" her costume. No matter what she wanted to be, Mommy has always come through. But that was before Mommy got herself a job. But I knew I could do this one. Leotard, tights, polyester stuffing painted pink. Easy, right? Wrong.
First I waited until the last possible second to make this costume. Of course I did, and found myself at Walmart the Wednesday before Halloween frantically trying to find pink spray paint. They had neon pink, they had red, they even had magenta. But no baby, bubble gum, cotton candy pink. Enter one quick Pinterest search for DIY Spray Paint. One part water, two parts acrylic paint, one spray bottle. Genius. And for some stupid reason I did not buy the poly fluff that night. I thought I had some, and wait for it... I didn't, so late Thursday I made the mistake to end all mistakes and went to Joanne's. Sure they had the fluff, but I also had to wait in line for twenty minutes behind all the other procrastinators and horrible mothers who just can't get their shit together to buy the fluff. I bought the fluff, I made the DIY spray paint, and some how, by the grace of Lawd Jesus himself, baby girl was Cotton Candy.
I would love to tell you that Halloween was perfect. I'd love to tell you that Trick or Treating was amazing. It was, and it wasn't. It was the first cold night of the year, and about thirty minutes after we got home it rained. It rained all night and all the next day, and we didn't complain because we need the rain. I can tell you that Mac quit after the seventh house. Caitlin wanted to keep going after the twentieth. I can tell you that we didn't carve a single pumpkin or paint on it, but I can tell you that the girls drew on them with markers and pins. I can also tell you that my Mom, Saint Linda, has a Sister, Saint Jenny, who held a Halloween party at her daycare and gave the girls foam sticker faces for their pumpkins. So we have two pumpkin cats still sitting on our porch, and if I'm being honest they will stay there until well after Thanksgiving. I didn't dress up, unless you count a skull scarf and an orange Giants sweatshirt. But it was enough. Hell it was plenty. We have enough Crunch bars to get us to New Years. We have great memories of driving home from our Pumpkin Junction adventure and laughing about Daddy singing to Kids Bop. And I will have the reminder that life is rarely perfect. It rarely fits in that plan you made all those years ago when having kids was a fun idea. I'll save this Halloween for the ones to come, the ones when my kids stop dressing up and would rather hang out at the mall than go to any kind of Junction with their parents. I'll hold on to this Halloween as the one that taught me that enough is what you have: not what you plan, not what you want, not what you missed, but what you have. And I have a lot.