Halloween has been Melanie’s and my first major holiday away from home. Halloween itself has never been that special to me, but there are traditions that our living in Georgia has caused us to miss out on. Case in point: my mother-in-law’s annual stew and breadsticks extravaganza. For as long as Melanie can remember, and for as long as I can remember Melanie, Halloween dinner has consisted of a hearty homemade beef stew and garlic parmesan breadsticks. Being away from home, we’ve missed out on this ritual for the first time in years. Melanie, however, has quite charmingly taken to the reins, simulating with commendable precision the aforementioned dish. It’s not only kept us mindful of the people and places we love, it’s marked an official transition from childhood to parenthood. While too young to eat any of it himself, Edison will always associate this meal with his mother, and it started this very day.
The stew also served to remind Melanie and myself that it was indeed Halloween. Not having dressed up, not having carved a pumpkin, not having received even one trick-or-treater at the door, it was hard to tell it was a holiday at all. Our plans to dress Li’l Eddie as a professor fell through when we had trouble finding a li’l bow tie and some li’l glasses (not that he would have let them stay on his face anyway). And the only costume ideas I had for myself were all very last minute and unimpressive—for example, a student who actually enjoys his Kant class*, a nudist in denial, or just plain nudity.
So while Halloween was a near bust, we made do. And now there’s a whole bowl full of candy for Melanie and me to steadily work into our diets. Furthermore, one of my classes did coincidentally get canceled, meaning something special did occur other than our having some delicious stew. But being able to watch Melanie step into a role so characteristic (in our minds at least) of motherhood was by far the biggest treat of the day.
*Lest there be any confusion, I actually find Kant’s philosophy quite exquisite. My Kant class, on the other hand, can be a bit drab.