[I originally posted this in 2009, and revisted it recently. I am sharing it 10 years later because this experience was so powerful.]
Halloween is a holiday that brings with it as much anticipation as Christmas. Jackson wore his Halloween costume with such enthusiasm and frequency that we actually had to buy him a new one. In a Game-Day decision, J and C decided that they would both go as Buzz Lightyear, defender of Galaxies and opponent of the Evil Emperor Zurg. We’re good with this. Buzz is a pretty wholesome, upstanding guy. Plus, he has wings. Accessories make this costume even cooler.
This is our first year Trick-or-Treating in our own neighborhood, and our first year living in Winnona Park. We’ve been looking forward to Halloween, in particular, since we moved here. And, it worked out splendidly that our friends were having a birthday party for their sons on the same day, just a few streets away. We enjoyed revelry (and cake!), and then headed out with a large crew of folks and all of our adorable, costumed children.
Despite the drizzle and moderately unpleasant cold, it was a great night. We moved from our friends’ house to the thick of Trick or Treating on Avery street, and watched as our little folks became a determined herd of candy getters. They checked in with us briefly at the end of each driveway with heroic shouts of, “They had Reece’s Cups!” and (my favorite) “MOM! I GOT PRETZELS!” Then, they quickly moved on to the next house. C somehow managed to wrangle 3 times as much candy as his more polite and rule-abiding older brother.
As they were approaching a particularly exciting house, I noticed a child dressed elegantly in a princess costume of some sort (I parent boys - I don’t have the gene that helps to determine the subtle differences in princess costumes). The child was graceful, and wore the gown with confidence. I turned to the child’s mother and said earnestly, “Your daughter is beautiful!” She responded, matching my earnestness, “Thank you. That’s my son.”
Before I could apologize, or make some sort of repairative response, she continued:
“He’s my son, and I love him. He’s probably gay or transgendered, but I he’s mine and I love him no matter what.”
I eeked out a “Wow. You are an amazing mother.”
“Well,” she said, “some folks say that. But, tonight, he was really concerned - embarrassed - that people might laugh at him. But I told him, ‘Honey, don’t you worry. I love you. And no one’s laughter will ever take that away.’”
I did my best to affirm her, and to tell her how blessed her son must be. This boy, with his dark skin and short, curly hair, was the antithesis of the blonde, waifish Cinderella we normally picture. But, he took that story of one misunderstood, set apart and despised, who found love and acceptance despite these circumstances, and claimed it as his own. He was as fitting of his title as any little girl, and he wore it with more confidence and grace.
When he returned from the house, new pieces of candy in his basket, he ran to his mother and said, “Mama! They knew who I was! They saw my charm, and they knew!”
He pointed to the Cameo on his necklace, which bore the picture of Cindarella.
But, I hope that this is how he is always received - as one who knows who he is, and conveys it because of his charm.