I stopped in at Target this weekend to purchase trick or treat candy. I used to shop there a lot when the kids were younger. School clothes, toys, movies, special fun items to brighten the day are things I would continually stop there for. But not anymore. They’ve “outgrown” Target now.
As I walked the aisles to the back corner of the store where the holiday items are kept, I began to reminisce about having KIDS again. I saw the latest t-shirts, PJ sets, Nerf guns, Legos, and kid movies, and my entire being just sunk.
I miss my own excitement of picking out that just right fun item that would light up their day. I miss their excitement at getting that present, and the wonderment it brought. I miss shopping with them, and their exuberance and marvel at all the different possibilities. I miss the joking around and trying on of the fun clothes and costumes. I miss having KIDS. I have TEENS now.
My cherished happy memory wandering through the store was suddenly shattered by the screech of a tiny 6 year old girl, “NOOOOOOO, DADDY, I don’t want the small one, I want the big one!!!!” It was delivered with that crying shriek that pierces the ears. It was immediately followed by the low level pouty drone, and it didn’t stop! Over and over and over again, the shrilled begging continued as the dad kept walking and ignoring the pleas.
My immediate reaction was to think, “AAAAH, yes. I certainly don’t mind having THAT in my life anymore!” I was shocked back to reality, and focused on my hunting down that elusive “perfect” candy handout (as the child’s cries continued to echo through the store.)
Now, you might be sitting there thinking of all the ways you would have done things differently than that dad did. Or maybe you are thinking – “Not MY kid! They would never have done that.” OR, possibly you are having that sort of “Parents today, they spoil their kids so much, they don’t even know how to shut that kid down. How disgraceful!”
And you have a right to those feelings I guess. Me? I had nothing but sympathy for that poor dad. And yes, there were times my kids pulled some things like that in a store (not to that degree however). I wasn’t going to judge, I don’t really know the situation.
But, I also wasn’t going to allow that incident to ruin my ride either. I took a step back, shook off the default reaction, and despite that child’s driveling, I still missed MY KIDS. I still miss that magic (and oh it is so magical!)
Tonight, may very well be his last year trick or treating. He’s in 8th grade, and only made plans with a few other boys in his grade last night. He is 6’2″ tall, and will be wearing the default older kid “costume” – his sports uniform.
When he shows up at your door, PLEASE try to hold back that default attitude that I know I have had so many years – “Aren’t you a little too old to be trick or treating?”
I GET it. I really, really do. But here is the thing – we’ve made them grow up too fast. We are expecting them to be these pseudo adults instead of who they really are – still boys. And they are somewhat lost. And I believe this is where we lose them.
This is the time where we start telling them they have to “buck up” and not feel. They have to be “men” now! There is no time for them to be little boys anymore. Put down those Legos, here, have a shoot-em up game instead. It’s time to start conquering sports, girls, school, and learning how to fix things.
Well, not this one. He’s going to learn to TALK with girls. He’s going to continue to take pride in all his lego worlds for as long as he still wishes. He will play sports fairly, and accept his fate when penalized. He will laugh, crack jokes, cry, and hug. He will still hold his sisters hand when her feet are unsteady.
There are no carved pumpkins outside my door this year. I have no cute costume pics to post. Pages are being turned and I’m barely sure where that time went. I’m not sure they do either.
So, tonight, if the lost boys show up to your door, and they seem a little less interested or excited about the treat, remember, they are in a rough transition. There is so much of them that still wants to be those little boys, still cracking fart jokes and wanting to run and play, but too afraid of how that is going to look.
Have some empathy for them. This may be their last time. This may be it for them. Give em a smile, and happily let them have their candy. For soon the lost boys will be too busy with exams (like my 16 year old is), but secretly wishing they were back out, running around with their friends door to door without much of a care in the world.Maybe, just maybe, if we let them be boys for a little longer, they won't grow up to be assholes. Click To Tweet
Peace my friends
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