What began as a Friday "jump-start" to Halloween ended on Saturday morning with me staring at a red splot on our school roster and wondering if it was real or fake blood.
First: Teacher conferences. Always an emotional roller coaster, for me at least. When Justin gets the recap from me, he finds them humorous. I do tend to be melodramatic, which I guess can be interpreted as funny. In my heart, it's not funny at all.
Not that I have bad kids. Actually, one got a really good report. I won't name names. But the other got sent to his room, thinking he was grounded from Halloween.
I did not plant that seed in his head. Getting grounded from Halloween would require something more than potty talk and general goofballery. By now you've probably guessed who got a bad report, but I'm still not naming names.
So I grounded him from T.V. Next stop: J.J.'s Halloween parade at school. Precious as always. Then: two birthday parties. One was Richie's friend's party.
And the bloodbath began. (Sort of.)
Richie's friend's uncle was there from out of town and he had a very unusual camera. I'm drawn to unusual objects like a parrot (plus am in the market for a camera) so I was staring at it. Richie's friend's dad introduced us.
Now, I was raised to believe a firm handshake and direct eye contact still mean something in this world. The problem with that is if the person has a huge bandage on his thumb, you don't see it...plus you squeeze the hell out of it. And there was the camera distraction.
So I gave the uncle a firm handshake, and he was like, "Ahhhhhhh" and leaned back and shook like he was being electrocuted.
My first thought was that it was a Halloween joke. I thought, what a hilarious prank, especially when you're in from out of town and meeting a complete stranger. (Put that in my back pocket for when I'm traveling.) But then I found out it was a real bandage and he had hurt himself pretty badly the day before. There were ambulances involved. Airplanes. Police. I'm not kidding here.
I felt horrible. Flash forward to an hour later. I'm rushing to get our trunk ready for Trunk or Treat: Our theme: Day of the Dead Grade School Students. Announcement: "1. Report cards go home today. 2. You're all dead."
I was cutting out a cardboard skeleton with a razor knife and thought, "Man, karma. I bet you anything I cut myself."
And I did! I sliced the heck out of my thumb. But the show had to go on. So I wrapped it in a cloth and kept decorating the trunk. It took longer than I thought, plus our furnace had broken.
So Justin came home and was toying with trivialities (fixing the furnace) when I had a trunk to decorate!
Trunk complete, I went to the kitchen and started making grilled cheese. At that point, the kids descended on the kitchen, needing faces painted and wrestling, and sitting on the cabinetry so the doors were going to break off, and my thumb was still bleeding like holy heck.
"Justin!!! Can you make Johnny up to be a zombie???!!! Please!!!" I mean what was so important that he couldn't paint a zombie face? Heat? And I kicked everybody out of the kitchen.
So I became that mom. The one whose trunk looks cute at the expense of her family. Meanwhile, Justin painted Johnny's face white, his eyes black, and added fake blood. Richie put on his zombie costume, which involved a werewolf mask (What? Werewolves can be zombies.)
We made it to Trunk or Treat on time and I won a major award. Which you've probably guessed made me feel pretty lousy after the meltdown. I went up alone to receive it; the boys were running around with their friends.
Eventually, Justin took J.J. home, who'd missed his nap earlier. I stayed with the older boys to talk. Justin says I'm always the last to leave anyplace because I talk and talk.
Well, cars left and I was still talking, this time to the cleanup crew. In my defense it related to our school chess club; a dramatic chapter of my life that I'm trying to bring to a happy ending. Meanwhile, Johnny went up to dunk a ball on a basketball hoop. He hung on the rim, and the whole thing came crashing down on him. He let go and fell right on his face on the blacktop. He laid there for a minute and I ran over, along with some other moms and dads.
Well, he wanted none of that. He was like, "I'm fine. I'm fine." and walked to the car. In fact, he was so adament that he was fine that I was worried. Plus, with his face painted, he looked pale (his face was painted white) and it was hard to see the injury.
A mom told me what to look for in terms of a concussion. We went home and washed his face. Then he watched a movie with some friends and I kept checking him and waking him up in the night.
The next day, he had a black eye and his arm hurt, but he was okay. I looked up the event organizer's number to call and let her know Johnny was okay, and that's when I saw the drop of blood. Fake? Real from my thumb? Real from Johnny's face? We'll never know.
It could have been worse, but this Thanksgiving, I will thank God it's not Halloween. And next Halloween, I'm going to duct tape an orange streamer to the trunk and call it a day.