There are certain sacrifices a parent makes for their young children. Often we don’t even view it as a sacrifice, so devoted are we to our offspring. But every now and then there are moments of parental dread when a particular chore for our child must be undertaken.
So it was for me, many years ago, when my daughter was 9. It was about this time of year when she looked at me with the sweet charm of childhood expectation glowing in her eyes and she uttered those words that I had so hoped she would not.
“Daddy, are we going to do a jack-o’-lantern this year?”
Cold fear gripped my heart. I’m pretty sure I gave an involuntary shudder as I choked out a response to her: “Sure, we are.”
And so we did. I hated every moment of it. Once I get inside the thing a tsunami of revulsion floods my senses. I hate the smell. I hate the slimy feel. I hate the look of those pumpkin guts stretching and clinging to your hand as you paw them out. I don’t even like pumpkin pie or pumpkin cookies or pumpkin lattes. For me pumpkins are the true horror of Halloween. I hate everything about pumpkins except the color, and since the last election I’m not too big on that either.
Now that my daughter is grown I thank the universe nightly that I no longer have to do the annual jack-o’-lantern ritual.
Here’s to you if you’re one of those parents still dutifully doing your pumpkin duty. (I’d shake your hand but frankly I don’t want to risk getting pumpkin brains on mine.)