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Looking back at my 37 years of parenting I can honestly say that I am grateful for every day…now that the kids have gone on to their adult lives. But there is one thing that I do regret: basically hating Halloween! Every year, the day it was over and I was always exhausted from the gathering process which included many trips to craft places, drug stores, grocery stores and Deseret Industries to gather Dracula teeth, fake blood, witch hats and unimaginably crazy items to complete wildly creative costumes. I was also tired of being a witch myself as kids decided that the costume they had so carefully planned just wasn’t quite right and they need to change at the last minute!

Muttering under my breath the morning after, as I washed the “blood” off of the counter, tried to get the black hair spray off of the mirror, took down the spider webs in the front entry and wondered how to get rid of the three pounds of Halloween candy sitting just below my waist, I was already dreading having to do it all over again next year!

Sure, the annual pumpkin carving contest was fun…after we spent most of our time trying to pull and scrape out the slithery pumpkin seeds which always reminded me of the dreaded pulling out of the insides of a chicken from my childhood on a farm. Those eleven pumpkins lined up, all with hysterical looks on their faces and each labeled with a special award such as “Scariest”, Wackiest”, “Funniest”, “Most Creative” was always fun to see all lit up in the front yard on Halloween night. But then there was the throwing away on the morning after and the screaming of the four year old who had grown strangely emotionally attached to his molding pumpkin.

I have changed! Now that my children are figuring out their own costumes and a plethora of other costumes for their own children, I love the creativity and seeing the joy in my grandchildren’s eyes as pictures are sent from far and wide of each adorable child pretending to be something or somebody else! Normal people who I see every day at the grocery check out, the Post Office and the neighborhood café show the fun side of their personalities as they check you out with a halo hovering above their head or dragon teeth hanging out of their mouths!

I have come full circle, looking forward to having Halloween pictures of adorable, decked out kids and grandkids on our refrigerator in November! This year includes it will include a “mean” witch with fabulous sparkly eyelashes and platform flip flops, a two year old bumble bee, a beaming Snow White, a widely grinning cheerleader, a wicked pirate, a sparkling princess, a spectacular Ninja Turtle and a Cabbage Patch doll to die for and a “Blue Man Family Group”!

One of the greatest joys of life is experiencing what we have always called spontaneous delight. It can happen, not just on Halloween which is fertile ground for spontaneous delight, but if you’re looking for it, it happens every day! “Five year old Ashton was being urged by his mother, our oldest daughter Saren, to finish his peanut butter sandwich one day. After doddling over it for a long time his mom said, “Ashton, I’m putting this cookie right here on the counter and you can eat it as soon as you’ve finished your sandwich. But if you don’t hurry, I’m going to be really tempted to eat it myself!” Without batting an eye, Ashton looked up and said, “You won’t eat my cookie Mommy. Just believe in yourself!”

The challenge for this month of gratitude, as you go through the daily challenges of being a mom is to watch for and be grateful for the spontaneous delight in your life! It will help you discover how much fun you’re having right now so you don’t have to wait 37 years to figure it out!

P.S. Note the Joy School Halloween Party! Hope all you Joy Schoolers had a lot of Spontaneous Delight with your little Pirates and Princesses!

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