This past weekend, we went into our local market town for their annual Trick or Treat Trail.
It is always lots of fun and the local businesses put in so much effort to dress up, make their premises look super spooky and play along with the visiting children.
Our favourite place to visit is the Sports Bar as they go all out; a haunted maze on entry which includes spooky music, mummies, taped up bodies, sheets you have to move aside to continue through, which usually have a jump scare on the other side. Then when you get into the bar itself it is decorations galore.
Afterwards, we go to the local Ex Services club for the kids halloween disco, maybe grab a bite to eat and then head home.
It’s a new tradition; we have only lived in this part of Norfolk for a couple of years, but when I read up on it last year I knew it was right up our street.
Every year, Savannah has enjoyed going all out with her costumes, she always knows what she wants to be by the time October hits, sometimes she has even been planning it all year long.
She has loved Halloween and the spookiness of it all since she was old enough to know what it is.
Past costumes have included a zombie cheerleader, Wednesday Addams, a ghost, Harley Quinn, and last year she was a possessed doll. Thanks to this costume (and mummy’s creative make up skills of course) she even came second in the towns fancy dress competition.
This year though, things have been a bit different.
We agreed on her being a murderous escaped prisoner this year (as the costume was only a tenner) and Savannah wanted very minimal make up. She was also less enthusiastic about doing the trail this year, and asked if I would mind her going Trick or Treating alone with her friends on Halloween itself.
She seemed a little self conscious about being seen in fancy dress, and even commented that last year’s costume and make up was ‘embarrassing’.
This, is one of a few changes that I have noticed lately. She is more conscious of her appearance and what she wants to wear, she can be more moody, and has become more interested in spending time with her friends rather than me.
She’s growing up.
I knew it was coming, just didn’t quite expect it now. I thought I had more time.
Some other kids I know one or two years older than Savannah don’t seem quite as grown up as her, and still went Trick or Treating with their parents. After thinking about it a lot lately though, I came to realise it might be down to one simple thing: I’ve allowed her (and encouraged her) to be independent.
She is lucky we live on a safe street where she can play out front with friends, and does most days until the last possible minute.
She respects that I need to know where she is for safety reasons so will always let me know if she is going in a friends house or ask for permission to knock for others.
I always give her the benefit of the doubt, and she knows if she lies or does something wrong there are consequences.
I have always parented her, and am not a mum who wants to be her child’s bestie (though Savannah says we are besties so NER) but she is a human, always has been. So I have always treated her with respect.
If I have told her ‘no’ there is always an explanation why, and it isn’t ‘because’. If she does something wrong or naughty, I explain to her why she is in trouble.
I also listen to her, when she wants to talk, even if its about nonsense, because I want her to know she can tell me anything, so that she does it when it really matters.
(Disclosure: I am NOT claiming to be a perfect parents at ALL, I definitely make mistakes all the time).
I think also, being an only child and VERY sociable has lead her to be this way too. She would have been an awesome big sister and loves being in the company of other kids. So much so, if we are going anywhere for a day out now she asks if she can bring a friend.
Being out with two grown ups is just not appealing these days.
This recent realisation of how much she is growing up, is making me appreciate just how special this Christmas is going to be. She is with me this year and I feel it will be the last one where she still ‘believes’.
I’m even getting excited about fully embracing the bloody elf on the shelf, something I usually detest.
But Savannah loves him, and she has already been talking about being excited for when he returns. I think I will actually be quite sad when it is all over and it is time for her to say goodbye to him, as it could be for the last time.
After this year’s festivities, my next Christmas with her will be when she is 11 and in High School, which I know will be very different to what I am used to.
Despite the pangs in my heart as I write this and when I think of how much she seems to have grown lately, I am embracing it and will support her every step of the way.
I would never ever stifle her or make her feel guilty for growing up and wanting her own space. I will take it a step at a time and deal with each hurdle as it comes.
I just thought I had more time.