October 13, 2008

The Monkey on my Back

Our first child was born on a full moon on Washington's birthday. It was eight months, eight days and eight hours later - as a new moon approached - when my mom came over to our house very excited. It was the day before Halloween. She had in her hand a shopping bag that I wish I'd never seen. It was our daughter's first halloween costume. The memory of that moment will never leave my head and it is perhaps the first time I have ever seen one gesture make one woman so happy, while it made another one so mad. For my wife, dressing our daughter up in her first halloween costume would have been tantamount to her first birthday. And for my mom - the grandma - she didn't realize that she had just crossed a very sensitive line. And for me - what was about to happen, was just true horror. I think my wife really wanted to cry. It was our first halloween and my wife had her heart set on an angel, and in the shopping bag was a red felt 'daddy's little devil' costume. You could almost feel electricity flowing through the room. And was that the sound of thunder? It was one of our families first dilemmas I would ever be caught in...and it was between my wife and my mom.


While I was going through the garage the other day pulling out Halloween decorations, I replayed that memory over again as I do almost every year. Only this year I found myself faced with another dilemma. This year it was between both of my daughters.The girls have chosen their costumes each year now for several years. Ever since they were old enough to make up their own minds about what they wanted to be. They have been the witch or princess or fairy or lady bug or cat or dog, and they have always liked what they have chosen. But this year they started getting a little creative. And maybe creative isn't even the right word. Maybe it was that they thought they were being creative when this idea came around: I know! Let's wear what dad wore two years ago for Halloween when he was the flying monkey! And here I have to admit, the costume was pretty good. Rather than buy the actual Flying Monkey costume for $70.00 dollars. I was going to save some money and piece together my own costume and save some money. As it turned out I ended up spending over $80.00 dollars. But my costume was an original and I fit in great with some of my co-workers who also put a lot of thought into their OZ-themed costumes. So anyway, when the oldest asked about the monkey I knew something more was coming. And I had already heard some quiet conversations about the monkey on more than two different occasions.

"Dad," she asked, "Can I be the Flying Monkey this year?"

"What about your sister?" I asked. "What does she want to be?"

Oh, I think she wants to be the monkey too."

"Well," I said, "Since you asked first I guess that only seems fair."

And that was it. I talked to my other daughter and she was okay with the decision I had made. But my heart and my stomach felt like it did 11 years ago:
WHAT - DO - I - DO - ? Back then it was much harder. My daughter ended up going as 'Daddy's little devil' and I probably broke my wife's heart. And the following year when grandma showed up with Ronald McDonald I had to draw a line. This year I think I should get together with the youngest and think up something kind of clever.


Tracy said...

I really think you should post your picture of the flying monkey. That was far-and-away my favorite costume ANYONE has ever come up with...

Good luck with the girls: I'm trying to convince Savannah that she wants to be the same princess she was last year so I can skip out on buying a new costume :)

Love you,

p.s. I loved Renie!

zakary said...

Gorgeous daughters!

And I agree that you should post a picture of the monkey costume!


...these were all I could find. We don't know where the others are.


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