Moments after you were born, I held you in my arms not really knowing what to do. People had told me repeatedly that fatherhood never really “hits” or “sinks in” until a new dad holds his offspring for the first time. You were the first baby I ever held, and I hoped that my inexperience wouldn’t somehow get in the way of the magical first few moments we were supposed to have together. While you made your first wiggles and gurgles and cries in my arms, I anxiously waited for the feeling of an unbreakable cosmic bond to wash over us both…
Fast forward five and a half years, and I’m staring at a bowl in our kitchen that contains a dwindling supply of Halloween candy. A few miniature Hersheys bars are there, some Whoppers mixed in, but none of the really good stuff like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups or Butterfingers remain. I look at this bowl, and I have to say I feel real disappointment.
You see, when I first held you against my chest, staring into your eyes and speaking gibberish- our bond did form. I fell head over heels in love with you while I imagined our life together- your first steps, first words, first bike ride, teaching all I know about cars (nothing) and girls (less than nothing), and I vividly remember fantasizing about the bountiful yearly plunder of sweets we’d harvest on All Hallow’s Eve. More specifically, the bounty you’d be responsible for harvesting while I taxed it at Clinton-era rates.
Yet here we sit, mere days after our day of disguised looting, and our supply runs thin. Why? Because you felt like one walk around the block was enough. You had a pound of candy, and that satisfied you. You just wanted to have a Kit-Kat with a Nerds chaser, and catch an episode of He-Man on Netflix while all the other neighborhood kids pillaged what could have been ours.
Are you even American?
On this day, above all days, you have to be greedy. You can’t get discouraged by the sweat that drips from your face because of the impracticality of plastic masks in the Arizona heat. You stepped on your cape? Cry into a Snickers. You’ve been conditioned to be hesitant of a candy/stranger combination? Not today. You son, only have a limited number of years to get what’s yours. Halloween is a test of your resolve as a young capitalist, and one of the truest examples of effort producing results. Satisfaction? On Halloween? No such thing. By the time you get home, sort your goods, trick your brother into trading his Nestle Crunches for some toffee, dental floss and Bible tracts, you should already be plotting next year’s strategy. During your dreams that fill the diabetic coma that we all communally enjoy on October 31st, you should be thinking of next year’s costume choices- realizing that modern trends will never elicit the handfuls of candy at each door that something classic and nostalgic from the distributor’s youth would bring.
I thought I raised you better than this.
Look, the good thing is, you have another shot next year. You might be thinking to yourself that this is too much pressure to have on you 350 days in advance, but pressure helps form diamonds. Not just any diamonds, specifically, the kind you see at the end of a Ring Pop.
Wyoming born. Arizona raised. Believer. Husband. Dad. Sports Reporter. Pineapple hater. Trying to live a life of gratitude.