Like every other parent in this Facebook-obsessed world, I feel compelled to share photos of my cute kids on Halloween. First, on Friday Braedan’s school marched in a parade around the block. Braedan had decided early on that he wanted to be a fire fighter, so I thought, “Well, what does a fire fighter need? A fire to fight, of course!” So here are my two boys:

Braedan as fire fighter and Austin as burning house

I got rave reviews for this one as we traipsed
around the neighborhood

Austin’s costume was a bit too cumbersome (“boxy”?) for climbing stairs so we ditched it and he was Buzz Lightyear for trick-or-treating.

Visiting the “cemetery” across the street

With their buddies

Homemade extras (wings and badge)

It’s interesting how whatever is happening with Austin’s health makes the holidays take on heightened importance. I feel like we’ve been through so many years now of extra-special Christmas celebrations or Easter hunts or birthday parties, all planned and executed with a lingering fear that each one could be our last.

Last Halloween was an unusual one because on the outside Austin was so apparently healthy, but deep inside (his body and our minds) something wasn’t right. We had already been through a month of back and forth, back and forth, uncertain if the shadow we were watching on his scans was cancer or not. By the time Halloween rolled around, we were determined to make the most of it, a small acknowledgment that the worst might yet lie ahead.

And, of course, the worst did lie ahead. That shadow soon revealed its true self — tumor — and we again found ourselves in the full throes of cancer. But for that holiday weekend last year, and for this one this year, we let ourselves and our children relax. We let them be what they deserve most to be: just kids.