Trick-or-Treat and Ticker Tape

A year ago seems so long ago, but also so close. I remember Matt preaching his candidacy sermon at Sunnyvale Presbyterian, wearing a beard. Well, HEARING about it as I was out nursing Drew.  The Giants had just won the world series and he was using the beard to connect to Brian Wilson and his infamous, every elongating facial hair.  Sermon illustrations are always festive in the Gough household…{go to 1 minute, 24 seconds on the video of Matt below to see the beard in its glory for yourself}

Driving back to camp via Albany for some trick or treating fun.

Slogging through two days of packers and movers.

Driving back to the South Bay. I remember sleeping in our new rental, on the blow up mattress, with only Drew tagging along, 3 weeks old. Sitting on camping chairs in our family room, eating Panera breakfast sandwiches and slurping Peet’s coffee.

I remember sweltering in the early morning heat. Sitting on the hard wood floor, trying to nurse Drew, but keep one eye on the street for the moving truck. Getting a call, finding out the best laid out plans had been thwarted by a Giant’s victory and a ticker tape parade. Movers arrived three hours late. Eating Costco pizza with our bare hands since we had no utensils or plates. Seeing my dear parents drive up, with our eldest, just as the movers were in full swing.

Having our now friends, at that point new-to-us neighbors, pop in to say hi, straining over mountains of boxes to even see them. Watching the insanity of my parents and mother-in-law unpacking box after box of glassware and china, insistent on finishing the task before bed. Multiple late night nursing moments with Drew.

And then after pushing through mountains of boxes between nursing stints and trying to keep a 3.5 year old happy, getting in the car, driving back up to camp, helping run a Junior High weekend and having a goodbye party thrown in our honor.

Then driving back. Another 2.5 hours on the road.  Back to our new home.

It was pure insanity. In. San. I. Ty. I remember, despite the newborn haze and daze, that week so vividly.  It was a time when we realized that sometimes,you just had to put your head down and DO it.  And that if you had had an inkling of how crazy it would be, one would have cried out to the heavens above, “MERCY!”

I walk around the same house this week, 365 days after our move here.  Instead of empty rooms and bare floors, walls are covered with each and every Halloween decoration imaginable to man.  The four year olds were BUSY in school this month!

We have had a full week of Halloween insanity fun.  Getting fun Halloween cards and stickers in the mail.

Doing a flash mob of the Monster Mash at preschool….

Participating in a PHENOMENAL event, Trunk-or-Treat, at church on Saturday…

Costumes Galore….

Making Halloween cookies and having Jack-o-Lantern pumpkin pancakes.

Halloween fun at school and Trick-or-Treating at night…

Monster Mash, Take Two….

Learning about the ways of the Sugar Plum Fairy

(aka:  parent’s attempt to bribe children to give away their candy)

Survival Needs purchased for Halloween success…

Clearly….this week has been a little insane too.  These pictures don’t tell the full story.  The temper tantrums.  The clashes.  Frustrations.  Moments of Mom taking a break to hopefully alleviate rash comments.

Empty house or moved in.  On the road living out of boxes and suitcases or unpacked with decorated walls.  Working a steady job or between employment.  Newborn or mobile one year old.  Three and a half or Four and a half years old.  {WHAT IS UP WITH THE HALF YEAR SYNDROME?!??!  Check out the take on this from Ames and Ilg’s infamous books….love them!}  So many similarities to be found even in the midst of the differences.

Tonight, I was reading a gorgeous book to Alex, “In November” by Cynthia Rylant.  Her style is poetic and paints unmistakable pictures in your mind.  Here’s a snippet…..

In November, the smell of food is different.

It is an orange smell.  

A squash and a pumpkin smell.

It tastes like cinnamon 

and can fill up a house in the morning,

can pull everyone from bed in a fog.  

Food is better in November than any other time of the year.

In November, people are good to each other.

They carry pies to each other’s homes

and talk by crackling woodstoves, 

sipping mellow cider.

In November, at winter’s gate,

the stars are brittle.

The sun is a sometime friend.

And the world has tucked her children in,

with a kiss on their heads,

till spring.

This year, as we usher in this month of November, I am closing up the boxes of Halloween decorations.  The same boxes that weren’t even cracked open last year.  And opening the bags and ziplocs of pumpkin candles, felted gourds, and our tree of Thanksgiving.  Ready to open this season.  To be purposeful about gratitude.  To be still. But, no doubt, to also mediate frustrations.  And temper tantrums.  And disagreements.

So many of these sentiments were true a year ago.  And I know I missed many of my good intentions as November unfolded.  As we wobbled through transition in our family size, location, professions and life.  Transitions continue.  Memories are formed.  Life is lived.  Some days are filled with costumes and ticker tape and fanfare.  And sometimes, it is stillness and wonder and bed head.

As Cynthia Rylant wrote, “In November, some birds move away and some birds stay.  The air is full of good-byes and well-wishes.  The birds who are leaving look very serious.  No silly spring chirping now.  They have long journeys and must watch where they are going.  The staying birds are serious, too, for cold times lie ahead.  Hard times.  All berries will be treasures.”

Moving is hard.  Just like staying can be hard.  My take is to sink in wherever you are, moving or staying.  Grab a yummy warm beverage.  Invest in the companions by your side.  And throw a ticker tape parade for each other when the days are tough, seasons are ending, new frontiers are beginning.  Or just because.


November 2007, my Dad and Alex

November 2008, Princeton campus, fall leaves

November 2009, Spring Hill Farm, Petaluma

November 2010, New Addition

November 2010

November 2011, Brothers

p.s.  Sorry for “These Stones” subscribers or Google Feed readers.  I hit publish on this post a few days ago on accident.  Didn’t mean to!  And the best part??  It was titled “Trick-or-Treat and Tick-or-Take”.  That’s how clueless I am.  Note to self:  “Tick-or-Take” really is TICKER TAPE.  Oops.

2 thoughts on “Trick-or-Treat and Ticker Tape

  1. This reminds me of this wonderful quote Julie and I saw on a painting in Santa Cruz a while ago, that has really stuck with us:

    Bloom where you are planted.

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