Henry’s First Halloween, in Isolation

Written by Amber

All month I’ve felt fleeting moments of sadness when I think of Halloween. It was going to be our first with Henry and I just felt bad that it wouldn’t be what I dreamt of or assumed would happen. The reality of not letting Henry in public places and keeping him in isolation set my mama heart in sad flutters as I thought about his first Halloween, shut in doors with no costumes or festivities. But as the month progressed and I prayed for that sadness to be removed, I came to accept our experiences and be okay that we would pave our own path.

I had to let go of my vision of finally wandering around the elite Beacon Hill with my cute little bundle of costumed Henry. I’ve been waiting for years to finally have a legitimate reason to head over there for Halloween and enjoy all of the beautiful decorations on the iconic red stone Boston homes. After a lot of waffling and rationalizing, I admitted to myself it would be too crowded and we couldn’t risk Henry getting coughed on or any adoring fans coming up to pinch his cheeks with germy hands. So I decided to accept the fact that I wouldn’t be living out this dream and not be sad about it. That being said, I’ve lived in Boston for five years and refuse to miss seeing these crème de la crème decorations firsthand before we move away. So I took the team over last week instead to wander and enjoy before the crowds descend. It was perfect, quiet and just my little family.

I debated a bit to even dress Henry up because no one would see him but it broke my heart to think of his “First Halloween” section in his baby book to be left blank. I knew I would regret that gaping hole when in the future, he and I would flip through those pages and I didn’t want to say, “You had cancer so we didn’t do anything.” So we dressed him up, went to our neighborhood walking path and took a few family pictures. Every single person who walked or biked by our baby version of the Up grandpa broke into huge grins. That alone made it worth it. He brought smiles to countless people that day and I’m so proud of him for that.

And then there are family traditions. We have some that are evolving just as Team Colson’s but I’ve loved my Gregersen Halloween tradition from childhood. My mom would get Provo Bakery’s bread bowls that looked like pumpkins, fill them with potato soup and then let us gorge ourselves on their donuts. Maple donuts were my jam. They still are and will forever be. And then after trick or treating, we all would thaw out by cuddling up and watch Arsenic and Old Lace- a Cary Grant classic that if you haven’t seen it yet, you haven’t truly lived.

So for Henry’s first Halloween, we’ll be staying in pjs, eat our potato soup in bread bowls and watch Arsenic and Old Lace with donuts. Not a single trick-or-treater for our Halloween but a lot of healthy, germ free snuggles and memories.

I’ve learned to change my expectations of these experiences. I’ve come to accept that we are really, truly on our own very unique path. No, we don’t get to be with friends, trick-or-treat or go to our church’s Halloween party but we do get to have our own unique memories and experiences. I’m accepting that it’s perfectly fine to be “missing” things and it’s a waste of time lamenting over feeling left out.

Gordon B. Hinckley’s optimistic thought, “Life is meant to be enjoyed, not just endured.” helps me to consciously choose to create good memories for my family, really live in the moment and ignore any thoughts of what we “should” be doing. I know we’ll all be happier as Team Colson if we embrace our own path and do what’s best for us, whether or not if it’s what other people are doing. Buuuuut let’s be honest, you better believe it that this kid is dressing up next year and bringing me home a big bag of candy!

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