Halloween is my jam. Which is kind of weird because I’m scared of absolutely everything so why am I so in love with such a spooky holiday? I don’t know. I’m weird like that.
One of my favorite things is dressing up. I love to make my costumes and I love a good costume contest...but that’s probably, mostly, because I like to win.
I love the season Halloween is in because I love how my world changes during the fall—the air, the ground, the trees. It’s almost as magical as a light snowstorm on a cold, winter night.
The origins of the holiday, Dios de la Muerte, to me is kinda beautiful. Not that I believe in the tradition, but just the idea behind it. The faith they have in their ancestors that they will come back to visit them. How many people in this world wouldn’t love to see or spend time with their loved ones for just one more moment, ya know? It’s really enchanting.
But maybe most of all, I love going to the pumpkin patch, climbing up the trailer, picking the best seat and bumpily riding off to find the most perfect pumpkin.
Pumpkin patches are a relatively new concept for me, though, as I didn’t go to many as a little girl. My mom used to let us pick pumpkins out at the grocery store and she always told us they were so expensive at the pumpkin patch, so it was better this way. She never liked the pumpkin patch, anyways, she would tell us. And so I kind of grew up thinking it wasn’t worth my time. No harm, no foul... there were just other things we could do with our time and money.
But it wasn’t until I was going as a teacher for the daycare center I worked for in college that my mom told me the real story.
“I always hated going to the pumpkin patch,” she told me when I told her what I was doing for work.
“Why? We never even used to go,” I reminded her.
“It was just always so hard for you to walk around the fields and pick out the pumpkins and walking through the pumpkin patch with you was so hard. It was not easy for you.” But what she didn’t say was that it wasn’t easy for her as a mother to watch me struggle so much trying to keep up with my friends and my brother and knowing I couldn’t. Knowing it was so much harder for me to use so much more energy lifting and swinging my prosthesis over the weeds and the vines. Knowing I was much more likely to fall and trip and get upset I couldn’t be like the other kids.
And even as I am typing this out, I am getting choked up because my mom is so special. She is my rock. And in my whole life she never, never, never made me feel like it was my fault we didn’t do the things other people got to do because it was going to be harder and more challenging for us—even simple things like going to the pumpkin patch. She blamed it on herself. She sacrificed herself so it landed on her and not on me. I don’t even know if my brother, to this day, knows what she did.
It’s so easy to say, she should have pushed me to overcome those things. That maybe she was too easy on me. And maybe she was, I don’t even know, but she made those choices with me and my comfort and my heartache in mind. And it makes me appreciate her heart and kindness and sacrifice so much more than I already did.
And now, as an adult, I think it’s one of the things that makes me appreciate the pumpkin patch a little more. It’s like a homage to all the things I have overcome. Going is not only so much fun for me, it’s a reminder that I am stronger now than I ever was and that I overcame so much and continue to overcome whatever is presented to me even if I’m not aware I am learning anything at that time in my life.
All I can do, is wish that success on others. No matter if it’s life-changing obstacles or minute obstacles you don’t even see until you’ve already passed them by. And all I can say is thank you to my mom for sacrificing herself for me. It’s my only hope to be that kind of person for someone some day.