My Starbucks cup is red and festive this morning. I think that officially means the holidays are upon us.
That makes me nauseous.
I have had a slight reprieve in the six weeks with no major milestones between Tucker's birthday and Halloween. We made the rounds for Trick or Treat, gathering obscene amounts of candy (kudos to the neighbors for very few choking hazards tossed into the pumpkin pails), and I kept my head in the game.
I don't love Halloween. But Robb did.
I took the boys out in the wagon, traipsed up and down sidewalks and driveways, teaching them the etiquette and the code of the porch light.
They told people, "We are Batman and Robin. But we don't punch each other, because we are partners." Excellent to hear that parenting objective voiced aloud.
I guided them when Tucker said, "Yes, but don't you have any peanut butter cups?" (Tuck, don't be choosy.) And when Tyler said, "Want to feel my wet forehead? I'm so sweaty." (Tyler, don't be gross.)
On our most successful stops, they said, "Thank you, and Happy Halloween to you too!" Well done, superheroes.
We counted and sorted their candy loot, and I remembered when Robb scooped Tyler onto his lap, commended him on the excellent stash, and told him this is the one night when he can eat as much candy as he wanted. Eat up, kiddo. The rules are back to normal tomorrow.
At the end of the night, they shed their costumes and fell into bed, the crash after a ridiculously stellar sugar high. And now we have entered November.
This is the day when Robb would load his iPod with Christmas Carols. (I was married to Father Christmas, and he could stretch one holiday into eight weeks, easily.) This is the day when he would begin scouting his exterior decorative plans, strolling the aisles at Costco for something big and obnoxious to add to the lawn. This is the day when I would begin negotiating the value of experiencing one holiday at a time, and he would call me a Scrooge. And he would hang the lights whenever he chose, but I wouldn't concede the actually lighting ceremony until the evening of Thanksgiving Day when Christmas would officially be the next calendar holiday. The beginning of November faithfully marked the start of a playful banter, a pile of lists, a budget for gifts, and a list of traditions.
I'm in a long stretch now. The holidays are upon me.
I feel like I'm at the starting line of a marathon I didn't sign up for. I feel like someone dropped me off the chairlift at the top of a Double Black Diamond slope, and the only way down is bumpy, cold, scary, and out of my league.
There's no way out except through it. I do not know how I will do this.