In a moment of both temporary insanity and utter devotion to my son I decided to hand make part of his Halloween costume. He wanted to be a fireman, at least until his actual fireman costume was being made and then he decided he wanted to be a garbage man. "Next year," I said.
A friend of ours lent us the suit, another friend lent us the hat and I was to make the truck out a cardboard box. As Halloween approached I started to worry that I didn't really know what to do and Jove would be haunted by appearing before all of his little pre-school friends in a pretty crappy piece of artwork. But my mom saved the day. She drew the firetruck outline onto the box while she was visiting. All I would have to do would be paint it and add some interesting details: dvd wheels, rubber tubing for hoses, suspenders so he could wear it, etc.
After at least ten hours of work, it was finished and I was quite proud of his firetruck. Papa brought home a flashing bicycle light and his costume was now done. Jove loved it and he had such a great time wearing it. During some of those late night painting sessions I vowed to never, ever take on such a task again.
Then, when he was wearing it I realized that the whole experience was really a metaphor of motherhood for me. The self-sacrifice of this project is what mothers do all day, every day. The emotional roller coaster I was on during the project (smiles, near anxiety attacks, sleep deprivation, gratitude) is representative of feelings I have all of the time. Luckily, my daily life is filled with a lot more smiles and gratitude and only minor anxiety and sleep deprivation. I also realized that although Halloween only comes once I year, the amount of both actual work and emotional work I will be doing as a mother has only begun.
I also see my mother in a new light. I think of all of the projects, costumes and worry my mom went through to take care of us. She's not even completely off duty now; she came to visit us and see the grandkids and I ask her, "will you draw Jove's firetruck for his Halloween costume?" "Sure, honey," she says. Here's to mothers everywhere. Yay, moms!!