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A Welcome Treat
by Amy Silverman

In our house, this year Halloween began in July. Actually, it might have been June. This had nothing to do with Annabelle, who is six, or Sophie, who is four. It was all me. I was the one who announced, one hot day, “Let’s decide what you’re going to be for Halloween!”

I’m not sure when Halloween became the new Christmas, but lately I’ve noticed I’ve been flying my holiday freak flag a lot. This summer, I had the luxury.

Annabelle announced she’d be a vampire for Halloween. It was decided that Sophie would be a bat. “Perfect!” I declared, confident I’d nailed my holiday photo. Soon, the girls had cycled through several other options -- much to my dismay. One particularly vexing evening, Annabelle refused to be anything but a witch. “What will Sophie be?” I whined, in a tone I’m not particularly proud of. “She can be my broom,” came the quick reply. I was doomed!

This is the kind of drama that only the mom of healthy kids can indulge in, and I binged all summer. Until Ray called one morning in August, on his way home from Sophie’s routine heart check-up, to announce (without ceremony) that our daughter needs open heart surgery. Again.

The holiday season – Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas -- flashed before my eyes. And disappeared. We quickly scheduled a consultation with the busy surgeon, who cancelled twice, then still had no answers. September turned into October. I got the Halloween decorations out and hung them up.

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One night, the phone rang. It was the surgeon. I held my breath... and my tongue.  He was quiet for a moment, looking at the calendar, figuring out anesthesia, an operating room. Then he had a question.

“Do you celebrate Halloween?”

“Well, yes, we do,” I answered, “but of course….”

He cut in. “Well, I have an opening on October 29, but let’s do it on November 7, instead, so Sophie can go trick-or-treating.”

A couple days later, the girls announced their final costume choices. I ordered the vampire dress and the bat wings before anyone could change her mind. It’s going to be the best Halloween ever.
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About the Author:  
Amy Silverman
lives in Tempe, Arizona with her husband Ray Stern and daughters Annabelle and Sophie. When she's not wiping noses and butts at home, she's associate editor of New Times, the alt weekly in Phoenix, where she also spends a lot of time wiping noses and butts -- and editing. She's a contributor to KJZZ, the Phoenix NPR affiliate, and although having kids has pretty much limited her traveling to San Diego and Disneyland, she's been writing quite a bit lately for The New York Times travel section. Amy's proud to say she's been published by both Playboy and Fit Pregnancy, and that John McCain once yelled, "Can't you shut your daughter up?" at her father in the Senate dining room, to which her father responded that that was impossible. Amy likes to balance her motherfucker persona at the alt weekly by co-teaching the Mothers Who Write workshop, which focuses on memoir/fiction and poetry for mothers of all ages and writing experiences.

 

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