Be a Butterfly

September 30, 2015

Why be a butterfly?

I remember the days when my mother or grandmother made my Halloween costume.  Do you have the same memories?

I remember dressing as a dog, a pilgrim, a clown, a custodian, a postal worker, and a monster. Each of these costumes were hand-made by my family. Theses costumes were passed down through the ages. My younger cousins, and their cousins wore these costumes. The happiness these costumes delivered is the same amusement I receive every day seeing the smiles of children in music classes and shows.

So why don’t I make Halloween costumes?

Since my daughter’s birth, 8 years ago, I have never made a single costume. Not all of the costumes were purchased—we do recycle with friends (which is a fabulous idea if you have never thought of doing so) but they are still store bought costumes.

I remember the hour long glass-breaking screams of my adorable 3 month old in her butterfly costume. All trapped in the constricting costume body of a butterfly. She didn’t know she was a butterfly, she just wanted to be free like a butterfly. Perhaps if I put a funny hat on her and a clown nose she would have felt more at ease.

Still, since their birth my children have been outfitted as warriors, princesses, butterfly princess ballerinas (I think we made that concept up at least), archers, ladybugs, Little Red Riding Hood & The Big Bad Wolf and more.Just recently (IN AUGUST!) we started receiving brochures displaying the variety of costumes available this year.  (A side note: Not a shocker but the number of zombie costumes outweighed any other available attire combined – zombies are good fun, but everything in moderation.)

Getting back to my main point. I am really disappointed in myself. Even after writing this article I am still not going to make a costume and I know it. So why am I writing this? I don’t know, stop asking!!!

This is just a metaphor for the state of parenting. I am just patting the back of former generations.  They were tough. They worked harder, partied harder, grew their food, made their own clothes and complained less.

My parents and grandparents stayed up until all hours of the night stitching, sewing and preparing.  Me, once the kids are in bed, so am I.

Life moves fast. Faster by day. The digital age is making way to something new, and the adjustment will last decades. As we slowly approach Halloween from many weeks out, I want to remember my grandmother and the doggy costume she made me. I want to remember the effort put forward by previous generations. Doing more, asking for less. Not everything needs to be perfect, and that is the beauty of life. Life is art, and sometimes I forget this while combating piles of lunch boxes, homework and bills.

This Halloween I am going to celebrate life. Like my 3 month old daughter of 7 years ago: I want to be free like a butterfly without being trapped in its costume.

Happy Halloween, stay safe and rock on.

Love, Michael