It is almost Halloween. At the holidays I become sadder than usual. I remember decorating with you at the holidays, and r of course, at Halloween. Tanith, you really liked to decorate with me, but you boys liked it too. Less as you got older. And Tanith, you were only just eleven when I last saw you.
We would hang plastic ghosts in the trees in our front yard, and wrap orange lights around the picket fence. We had skeletons to hang on the porch, and black cats. The last Halloween I had with you kids, you boys were thirteen and fifteen. Tanith, you went out trick or treating with your girlfriends and one or two of their mothers. I remember you wore pink and I helped you put on eyeliner and eye makeup. I think you were dressed as one of the Bratz dolls. I haven't heard of them lately. Bratz. But then, why would I? I work primarily with boys.
I think of you all the time. I wonder if I am feeling sorry for myself. I think that maybe working with kids is a bad thing, that it makes me think of you more. I go over and over in my head what happened and what I could have done to change it. I think of how little I valued the time I had with you, how I was always tired, how I wish I had played with you more, listened, paid attention. How true it is when they say to enjoy your children because they grow up so fast.
Now Levi, you are grown up. You are nineteen. A man. I worry about you. I worry because you have autism, and I worry about how, and if you are functioning in the world. And Keegan, you are a young man playing guitar in a rock band. I worry about you having girlfriends, how you are doing in school, if you're using drugs or alcohol, how you are coping emotionally. And Tanith, my baby girl. You are becoming a young woman now. I worry about you going through your young womanhood with no mother to guide you. I know you have a step-mother, but she is scarcely older than you.
Oh, my children. You are still my babies. How does one let go? What can I do? I think, well, what does one do in situations like these? Should I try to help others so I don't think of my own pain? But, what would I tell someone in a situation like mine? I have no help to give you?
It is almost Halloween. Every year during grade school you kids had Halloween parades at school. For many years Keegan and Levi, you dressed as Power Rangers. Tanith, the last year I saw you, for Halloween you did dress as a Bratz doll, I remember now. Pink velour and the shoes you had with heels. Every year I made chili on Halloween and we'd carve pumpkins that day.
I wish I had known how precious all those moments with you chilren were. Maybe I did know. I just didn't know I wouldn't have moments anymore.