When it comes to my kids, they don’t understand how lucky they are on Halloween.
They live at the Halloween epicenter in this area in my opinion. Annually, we have more than 2,000 trick or treaters come to our stoop along Washington Street. It’s astonishing to me year after year.
We always take the time to take our kids along our street for some trick or treating themselves and it’s a sight to behold. This year among the hundreds of people walking along were two individuals on stilts dressed up as something I didn’t recognize, many adults dressed up to go along with their children’s costumes, a man dressed as Forrest Gump running back and forth on our streets (he later gained a gathering of like-minded individuals) and a group of kids dressed up as dogs lifting their legs on telephone poles. Add to this the fact many residents dress up their houses and it’s a special scene.
This doesn’t happen just anywhere, but I think only adults can appreciate it. My kids are so focused on the candy available to them they can’t grasp the enormity of the experience. They will understand eventually.
Beckett, who dressed up as Deadpool, is a roamer around our street, bouncing between neighbors and our house. Each time he returns home he is increasingly worked up because of the sugar overload. At one point, I saw him with the last remnants of blue cotton candy from a neighbor’s house in one hand and a Fun Dip in the other. By the end of the night, his speech was incomprehensible from speaking too fast.
For his part, Carson, who was Doctor Octopus and had an amazing costume handcrafted by Pam, gave out at least half of our 2,000 pieces of candy. He was our worker bee, although he was reluctant to give candy to any girls, for some reason.
Despite all the craziness of the night, both kids were asleep by 9 p.m., but they woke up Tuesday a little off. I’m sure it was a combination of candy for dinner and coming down from the sugar high. Of course, all Beckett wanted to know was why Halloween was only one night a year.
Carson turns 7 years old on Saturday.
For the baby of the house, his birthday comes during a challenging time for him in his school life.
With Carson being special needs, including being non-verbal with developmental delays across the board, we know life will be full of challenges. It’s going to be a bumpy journey, but the last few weeks I can only describe as impossible.
As we explore what’s best for Carson, us and his school family, we simply approach life on a day-to-day basis. It’s too frightening and frustrating to do otherwise. We celebrate the good days. We regret the poor days when behavior and bad decisions affect him and those around him, but we live by the adage that “tomorrow is a new day.”
It has to be, we often think to ourselves. We get through the aggravating and disappointing times by living with a carpe diem approach as well as reminding ourselves how far our little boy has come over the last seven years.
We adopted him at birth from a rural town in northern Pennsylvania as a sick, underweight and undernourished infant. Life has been difficult for him every step of the way. Nothing comes easy to him. It’s been this way his entire life and there are no indications that will not continue to be the case. He makes life harder on himself at times by his regrettable actions, which bother us tremendously.
While I have come to accept raising our special needs child will most likely be the biggest challenge of my life as well as Pam’s, we remain inspired by him on a daily basis. He has overcome a tremendous amount in seven years and proves his toughness daily.
For example, while getting blood drawn this week, the poor kid got poked and prodded for 20 minutes before the nurses could find a suitable vein. They had to resort to his hand after stabbing his arm too many times to count.
While he screamed in pain, I had to physically restrain him while Pam talked him through it. By the end of the process, the poor kid was soaking wet from fighting us. Some of that sweat though came from me because he’s got an incredible will to battle when he’s scared and being forced to do something he doesn’t want done.
Later on the same day while having a heart test conducted, he had all of us laughing when he got a case of the giggles from the stickers being posted on his belly for an EKG. He smiled through the whole thing, confirming once again his amazing resiliency.
Pam and I are honest with ourselves when it comes to Carson. If we had a choice in the matter, we would not have opted to have a special needs child. It’s incredibly difficult and comes with challenges I’m not sure we are equipped to handle some days. However, this is our reality. Life is hard but I can’t imagine it without Carson. We thank God daily for choosing us to raise him. We do, however, at times wish it was a little easier. That’s just not our path, but we will get through it together. That’s what families do.