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Mommy Musings Imagine That
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Nighttime temperatures are dropping, the days have gotten shorter and the colors of fall are all around us. While I would like to say the holidays are quickly upon us, the fact of the matter is they are here and in full swing.

Halloween is now all but a memory, followed by a sugar hangover and Thanksgiving is just two short weeks away.

As each year passes and my children hit new milestones, the holidays seem to make their own metamorphosis and progression.

A most recent example would be my son's daily celebration (throughout October) of Halloween. Everywhere we seemed to travel during those 31 days the words 'Happy Halloween' seemed to inevitably flow from his lips. Only to be followed by the exclamation of 'Because it is the month of Halloween.'

While this is not the first year that our four-year-old has been excited to dress like Buzz Lightyear and pass out candy at his grandparents house, it is the first year I suddenly 'get it.'

This time of the year is perhaps one of my son's favorites because it is all encompassing of the thing he likes to do most - imagine.

The fact that this is now a controversial holiday not celebrated by the mass majority as it was when we were kids is not lost on myself or my husband. The threat of witchcraft and ideology of fictitious icons, have led many to no longer allow their children to partake in a holiday which so many of us grew up looking forward to.

Of course we recognize that for some this is a holiday based on a belief system and to them we simply say 'Happy Halloween.' Our son has been taught that the witch that hangs in our home is not one we idolize, but an imaginary character that plays into the theme of the holiday. The witch for us is no different than the Jack-O-Lantern, the inflatable ghost in our front yard or the scarecrows decorating our fence posts.

I was raised to stand up for what I believe, but recognize and appreciate the differences that make us all individuals. This is, after all, the American way. Diversity in race and religion are just some of the things that make this country so great.

In my early years of life, many in this country were just getting a voice. Civil rights and women's rights were pressing topics I recall hearing family members speaking of during family dinners. These were serious issues and so many were fighting to be heard.

Now some 30-plus years later I cannot help but feel that now there are so many being heard that it's just turned into a bunch of noise and no one is really listening. Everyone is so quick to weigh in on their opinion, that we no longer truly listen to one another. Or even worse, people are forming their opinions based on what they are told by others, not from what they feel in their heart.

Which brings me back to my innocent and vocal four-year-old. While I may be just as guilty as the rest of the world for not always listening, when it comes to my children ... I am all ears.

Recently on our way to school my son seriously informed me that if the scary monsters came to the playground at school he would save everyone. That's when it hit me, for my son and so many other children this holiday is not just about candy and costumes - it's about imagination. October is the one month out of the year that the rest of the world imagines right along with him. And while Santa and the Easter Bunny could be equally exciting, for many they are each attached to holidays with lessons.

For our family there is no lesson to Halloween, or perhaps there is - just have fun. As my son wore his Buzz costume for one last year and marched in a Halloween parade beaming with Tiny (his imaginary rat - dressed as Cowboy Woody) it became clear that this was one lesson well received - by both of us.

Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at or by calling 847-3021.