Oh, this holiday. A holiday, like all holidays that makes you grin from cheek to cheek. A holiday that made you two bond. A holiday that you asked to be a team. A holiday, like all holidays, that you love.

You love the fun, the enjoyment, the traditions, the excitement. You love the candy (of course) and the laughing and the time with friends. You love a holiday and this one is no different. It is a holiday that brings out the kid in you. A holiday that makes childhood really shine.

From your very first where we were too sick and it was too rainy to go out. You were so small and still so excited and laughed and laughed as a six month old in a costume. To your second as a cute little flower, squeeling with excitement. To a ladybug, asking me if "Anna could go home now" because she was all pooped out. To all of the matching ones with you and Coley to all of the matching ones as a family. Your little cheeks so happy, you love a holiday.

Last year COVID threw us a curve ball but we found a way to laugh anyway. This year life, and I, threw you a curve ball and asked if you wanted to break all traditions and go out with just your friends. No family costume. No family trick or treating. Just you. You were torn, but you also were excited about the possiblity of the night. You came home gushing and hysterical. It was your night, just yours.

When we hinted at doing something with just Cole, you were so upset, you weren't fully ready to cut it all off. So, we found a way to pivot and compromise. We know this is the beginning of the end of it all, we know this was the start of a new way. As I craweled into your room, I looked at you, with the same cheecks as the six-month old on my couch, and I of course cried.

I cried for our losses, I cried for an end, I cried to your new, I cried because you're ready, I cried because I'm not. I cried because I felt a shift, I cried for Cole, I cried for me, I cried.

But then when you got home from a night out, I took it all in. The way you were, the way you could not stop talking, the way you wanted to talk, the way the night went, how happy you were. I'm not going to lie and say I'm perfectly ready and fine and elated. But I am happy for you. And I am proud of you.

One more example of you being ready and me having to pretend. You dipping a toe into a new place while still wanting to hold on to the old and me trying to hard to let you. You know how moms talk about there are nights they cry themselves to sleep because of their kids. Not because of something bad, but because they feel the growing up? You know how most moms don't talk about it? Well, I write about it. So, if you ever read this one day, know that leading up to your 12th Halloween, I spent the week crying myself to sleep. I dreamed of my babies and I remember that little 6 month old sitting on a green couch wearing a very yellow banana costume, giggling her head off. I remember the 2 and a half year old asking me to go home. I remember seven year old wearing a Rey costume to be "just like mom". I remember all the princess costumes and I remember Cole as a side kick.

I will also remember that for a few years it was just us three and for the first time, it was again, but for very different reasons.


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