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Enjoy them while they're young

October 6, 2012
By SUMMER WALLACE-MINGER , Weirton Daily Times

Within a month of my first child being born, I was thoroughly sick of people telling me to enjoy her while she was little, because "they grow up so fast."

People would tell me this, and I would look at this tiny pink bundle. And I would think to myself, "that is so cliche. She still doesn't talk. I can't even imagine her being a teenager."

Fast forward 13 years. She is a teenager, and she doesn't shut up. These are not such bad things. The bad thing is that she is growing out of things before I am ready for her to leave them behind - and I'm not talking clothes.

Take Halloween for instance. I love Halloween. It is one of my favorite holidays. You get more decorations than Christmas, more candy than Easter and less stress than either. And there are costumes. No other holiday allows you to dress like a total fool and go out in public. It's the one time of year I fit in!

One of my fall highlights is taking the children costume shopping. Some years, I can even convince my mother to make their costumes. I still cherish the year we dressed them as the characters from the Wizard of Oz - Sainted Child was Dorothy, the Little Professor was the Scarecrow (with actual straw!), the Heathenish was the Tin Man, and Fatty Lumpkins, all of 2 years old, was the cutest, chubbiest-cheeked Cowardly Lion you've ever seen. (I have pictures to prove it.) Of course, Sainted Child toted him all over town. If he'd been small enough, I probably would have stuffed him in a basket and he could have been Toto instead.

I couldn't find ruby slippers, so I bought tap shoes, spray-painted them red and dumped glitter all over them. You could see those things coming two blocks away. Of course, the very next year, we found shoes bedecked with red sequins; it became an in-joke between the two of us whenever we found a pair that would have been perfect ruby slippers.

The Sainted Child doesn't want to do Halloween this year. This makes me so sad. You don't even know.

"What do you want to be for Halloween this year?" I asked. "If you want Grandmama to sew your costume, you need to choose early."

Personally, I was hoping that they would do a theme again this year - maybe a princess and knights. Fatty would make a fabulous dragon; he would look so cute with a tail.

"I don't think I'll dress up for Halloween this year," she said.

"What?" I clutched my chest. "You don't want to go trick-or-treating? You have to go trick-or-treating! You've done it every single year since you were born!"

And she had. When she was a few weeks old, I put her into a Tigger costume and painted whiskers on her cheeks with eyeliner. I put her into her stroller and the Long Suffering Husband and I pushed her around the block. It was our very first family holiday. It was important. It was a tradition.

"Don't you think I'm a little too old?" she asked.

"No! No, I don't think you're too old! What are you talking about? Of course, you're going trick-or-treating!" I was hyperventilating.

"I think I just might take Fatty around," she said. "I might wear a costume, but I'm not going trick-or-treating."

I needed smelling salts or a fainting couch or something. "What about the candy?!" OK, so it was a desperation move ... because I was desperate.

"Momma, I'm growing up," she said. "I'm too old for trick-or-treating."

Enjoy your kids when they're little. They grow up so fast.

(Wallace-Minger, The Weirton Daily Times community editor, is a Weirton resident and can be contacted at

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