It’s a Boo-tiful Life

pumpkin-carving

It’s that time of year–dressing up, getting sugar high, and embarrassing our kids with our goofiness. Along with making my oldest daughter cringe at my antics, one of the things I enjoy about Halloween is the simplicity of it. It’s about childhood imagination, neighborhoods opening their doors to each other, and spreading joy with sweets that kids will make themselves sick over later that night. And let’s not forget spooking our spouses. Gotta love Halloween pranks!

But if you’ve found yourself having a hard time getting into the festivities, you’re not alone. If you’re like most families, these days can feel like one long battle. A battle of wills with the kids. A battle of stupid fights about nothing with the spouse. A battle for respect at work. A battle with yourself for more time, more productivity. Amid all of these battles, perhaps you’re losing. I know I was … losing it, that is. What parent isn’t, though?

It’s not easy living in this day and age. I mean, sure, we don’t have to pee in an outhouse or hunt tonight’s dinner. We have luxuries people never dreamed of. But that doesn’t always make life easier. We bicker more and love less, it seems. We get stressed about things that don’t matter in the long run, and we expect too much out of ourselves, our significant others, our kids, our friends. I know this because I’ve done it. And I’ve felt the weightiness of all these expectations suffocate me and those I love.

But then I get a wake-up call when my six-year-old brings me breakfast in bed: rock-hard toast slathered in peanut butter and cheese, with a side of chopped apples doused with sour cream…? Disgusting, sure, but oh-so-sweet. She reminds me that life is made of little moments, and we have the choice in how we live those moments. Little kids have a way of opening our eyes to those deep truths.

From one family to another, I challenge you to not “sweat the small stuff”–words of wisdom my mom gave me when I first entered adulthood. Great advice, too. Instead, do something fun but simple with your kids. Do a stuffed animal skit at bedtime. Dote on your spouse just because. Plan an at-home take-out dinner and movie date after putting the kids to bed early. Cut yourself some slack even though the sink is full of dishes and the clean laundry is taking up a couch of its own. And by golly, don’t steal all the good candy from your kids’ trick-or-treating stash…let ’em enjoy it.

Enjoy your boo-tiful life, no matter how scary it can be, starting today.

 

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