Our Skeleton

One Christmas Eve when I was 12 or 13 years old, I was sitting watching television and it occurred to me that all the anticipation of the holiday was about to come to a screeching halt.  In two days time, the holiday would be over.  No more anticipating those gifts, family in from out of town would be gone, people go back to work and soon back to school.  As I was pondering the sadness of this fact, my mom walked by and, as good, intuitive mothers do, she stopped and said, “What’s wrong?”

I don’t know why I would be surprised.  I’ve been convinced that she could read my mind for years after an episode when I was very angry with her and I stared her down and called her a bitch in my head and she smacked me.  “Whoa!  She heard that!” my inner voice said!

“Nothing.  I’m just tired,” I answered.

“Oh good.  I was going to say, don’t tell me you’re one of those people that gets depressed at Christmas!!”

I seemed rather relieved to hear that my feelings were normal.  Since then, I’ve kept a healthy level of detachment from Christmas.

Halloween has become my favorite holiday of the year.  You get to dress up as someone or something else.  My brother and I would unload our trick-or-treat bags on the living room floor and make trades.  Bit-O-Honeys were worth NOTHING.  My dad was fond of Halloween too.  Dad’s an electrician and he always dreamed of hosting a haunted house or at least a really cool gimmick at the door.  Generally his plans were carried out at the last minute and involved strobe lights and/or music.  One year, he wired the doorbell to an old car horn and we sat and watched out the window as trick-or-treaters would be startled with a deafening “Ah-ROOOO-Gah” sound!  Sometimes the rest of us couldn’t quite share his vision.  I’m thinking of the year he had “the talking bush.”  He placed a speaker in the bushes outside our front door and ran the wires into a front room.  He’d talk through a microphone and sometimes direct the young kids to take candy from the bush.  Years later, I got a ride home from a school event from a young man and as he pulled up to the house he said, “Wait, this is the house with the talking bush, isn’t it?” and just like that, the talking bush was cool.

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This is the skeleton my girls and I bought for Halloween this year.  The kids fell in love with the $40, life-size skeleton immediately.  The practical me had to be convinced.  We saw him (or her) twice before I’d agree to the purchase.  “But what will we do with it?” I asked us all aloud.  “If we put it outside, someone will just steal it.”  We bought it anyway, because I’m a pushover.  Don’t tell my kids!

As soon as we put him in the passenger seat, we all had this great vision of what we could do with “dem bones.”  We’ve been photographing him/her in all sorts of poses and everyday situations.  I hate to brag, but we are 3 very creative people and being a single mom, I have to admit that my personality can be rather controlling at home.  I’m afraid that sometimes what is meant to be a fun craft time turns out to be me flipping out over who’s doing it wrong or the mess that’s being made in my house.

But hearing all of their great suggestions has caused me to let loose of the reigns a little.  I absolutely LOVE brainstorming with them on the skeleton photos!  I don’t think I’ve heard a bad suggestion yet!  I always knew my kids were incredibly funny, but their overall sense of humor is unreal.  They “get it.”  They get why it is funny to see a skeleton cooking dinner in an apron or going out in a bathrobe for the mail.

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