The plan for Halloween this year was to let Tyler trick-or-treat with a friend a few streets over from us, while I took Tayler trick-or-treating on our street. Tyler was extremely happy with her "Gothic Fairy" store-bought costume, and Tayler was extremely pleased with our work on her home-made Papa Smurf outfit. As usual, I waited until the last minute to even start on my costume. I toyed with several fantastical ideas, none of which were able to be made in the time available to me. I settled, at last, on something I always wanted to do: construct a cheesy robot costume out of cardboard boxes. I set to work late Tuesday night, and made a few adjustments during my lunch break Wednesday afternoon, knowing full well that I'd be putting on the final touches just minutes before trick-or-treat officially started.
I rushed home from work, stopping to buy a few glowsticks for the evening, and met the kids at home. I was informed that Tyler's friend was sick, and that Tayler had been invited to trick-or-treat with a friend across town. It was with a heavy heart that I consented to drive her over to the friend's house for the evening. I had been really looking forward to walking around the neighborhood with her in my robot costume. I made peace with the fact that I'd still get to walk around the neighborhood in my robot costume with Tyler instead. On the way over to the friend's house, though, I suggested that they see if Tyler could join them, since I knew she was disappointed at the unexpected change in plans as a result of her friend's illness. This suggestion was readily welcomed, and the friend consented, so it left me with no reason whatsoever to even don the robot costume.
Driving home alone, I realized that this was the first Halloween without the kids since I met them. It was a somewhat humbling moment, and I admit I was surprised by the disappointment I felt: I've always tried hard to avoid falling into the trap of thinking that they'll always be my little girls, and will always want to do things with us. This is the first of many times to come when the kids will want to do something with their friends rather than their parents.
After I picked the kids up at the end of trick-or-treating, they asked me if I had put on the robot costume. When I explained why I had not, they both apologized for not staying at home with me. It took me several tries to explain to them that I wasn't upset, and that I was glad that they had had the opportunity to spend the evening having fun with their friend. I admit that I'm a little saddened by the transition from little kid into pre-teen, and what it means for our relationships together; but I am glad that the kids have friends, and I'm hopeful that they'll continue to count Carina and I as friends, too.
Since I likely won't be walking with the twins next Halloween, I guess it's time to start planning all the gruesome tricks I've always wanted to play on the kids that come to the house in search of candy...