I’m constantly surprised by the thoughts that disturb my sleep. Last night I went to bed weary from a day of stresses coming from all angles, but the one thought that kept me staring at the ceiling was, “They don’t sell size 14 Angry Birds underwear.”
Casey is obsessed with Angry Birds. It’s the substance of his autism-strength focus right now. He saw little boys’ underwear with Angry Birds on it, so of course he wanted it, too. Casey’s big for his age. At only 9, he’s at the small end of his size 14 clothes. His size betrays his age, his age betrays his heart. Casey is truly young at heart.
That thought lead me to thinking about Halloween. It’s the first thing I woke up to this morning. There was Casey, kneeling by my bed, willing me to wake up. My eyes opened and met his face RIGHT in front of mine. “It’s Halloween tomorrow!” He yelled so loudly that Lance startled beside me. Then he kissed my face and ran out, arms full of his Angry Bird plush toys that never stray too far from him.
Casey loves Halloween, which is a big deal for a kid with autism. He used to hate it. We’d have to drag him screaming and kicking just to visit the neighbors. Up until a few years ago, he was content to spend it at home with me or Lance, passing out candy. There were monsters and dark and the scariest thing of all- people. One Halloween at his grandparents changed all of it. We cheered and high-fived after every trip to the door. He was hooked. He loves Halloween. He loves visiting the neighbors. He loves dressing up. That love only grows as years go on. I worried what would happen next year, or years after, as his enthusiasm for Halloween seems unlikely to disappear with age. How would we get him to be okay with giving up Trick or Treating when it became socially inappropriate?
Then, as I was scrolling through my Facebook feed today, I came across this article that my good friend Patty posted: What you need to know about 6 foot Trick-or-Treaters. The article details a mother letting her 15 year old son go trick or treating with his friends. I have always rolled my eyes at teenagers who come Trick or Treating. That article changed my mind about it. Read it. For me, too, it opened up a new idea: letting Casey Trick or Treat as long as he wants to. Not discouraging his love of Halloween. To be honest, I absolutely love Halloween, too. If I didn’t have crippling anxiety, there’s a very good chance I’d dress all up and join him as well. Why force growing up on a kid that is lucky enough to not give a damn about social norms?
So, this Halloween, if a bunch of teenagers come to your door, or child with his parents who looks to be a couple years past his Trick or Treating prime, smile and give them candy like you would any one else. You never know.
We should all be so lucky to live our lives young at heart.