Last year for my stepdaughter’s sixth birthday in July, my husband and I bought her a Jessie costume. (If you don’t speak “Disney”, Jessie is the cowgirl from the Toy Story series.) She was absolutely in love with it and insisted on wearing it right then. As she was showing it off, my sister-in-law said, “Hey, you’ve knocked out two birds with one gift! She loves it and she could wear it to trick-or-treat on Halloween!”
“YEAH!” Chloe shouted. “Sammy, can I wear this on Halloween?”
“Of course you can,” I said, smiling. I leaned over to my husband and said, “If we don’t have the kids on Halloween, will you ask their mom if we can take them? We’ve never done trick-or-treating before.” David agreed and I got really excited. YAY Halloween!
But after a few weeks, it didn’t feel right. We’ve never had the kids on Halloween and it felt weird to ask for them on their mom’s night. Sure, it’s a holiday, but it’s not a big deal like Thanksgiving or Christmas. I desperately wanted Halloween memories with them, but what about their other siblings? My stepkids have a sister and brother they create memories with, too. I thought about my own Halloween memories and smile every time. It was always my brother, sister and me with our mom. Always. I couldn’t imagine Chloe and Trey looking back on their Halloweens and seeing them different every year.
And then, Chloe’s mom came up with the perfect solution.
One afternoon, when I was picking up the kids, Chloe said, “Sammy, I told Mama I wanted to be Jessie for Halloween.”
“You did? Did she say that was okay?”
“Yes. She said maybe you and Daddy could bring my costume to me and then y’all could go trick-or-treating with us.”
I glanced back in the mirror and saw Chloe start to tear up. It sounds silly, but my heart skipped a beat. “She said that? That we could all go trick-or-treating together?”
Chloe nodded. “It makes me cry,” she told me. “But a happy cry. I’m happy we are all one big family.”
And that’s when my heart broke and swelled all at the same time. Immediately, my mind flashed to future Halloweens. I could see Chloe and Trey, their mom’s other children and even my own children all walking together. A huge group of us strolling the streets, holding hands and my kids growing up with my stepchildren and their siblings, too. A true Modern Family.
Of course, we went. And we all had a fabulous time. Halloween is the perfect holiday for a family outing like ours. No one has any set-in-stone traditions like Thanksgiving or Christmas, there’s no rearrangement of schedules needed. It’s all of us getting together, watching our kids trick-or-treat and enjoying the moment.
I’m grateful to be a stepmother, yes, but I’m even more grateful that my stepkids’ mom is so accepting to our new, big family.
Do you celebrate any holidays with your stepchildren’s mother? If not, do you hope to be able to one day?