What's In a Costume

When I was little, I loved to dress up. I went through more outfits in a day than most people went through in a week. They were my kots-tooms. And, who am I kidding, I still love to dress up. I loved having formal dances in law school to attend. Or dressing up for Christmas Eve. Even dressing up for an interview was fun. I would put on my power suit and feel invincible. I loved that special clothes could make me feel like a different person. So, it should really come as no surprise that one of my favorite things about having a daughter is getting to dress her up. This love of dress-up makes it all the more surprising that I forgot the one holiday of the year that dressing up is practically mandatory. As some of you know, this Thursday we will meet with Lil' Bit's heart surgeon to talk about her surgery and get it scheduled. I was talking with a friend of mine about when we were hoping to schedule it, and I said that I was hoping for some time in early November. The response was something like, "That's perfect, because then you get Halloween." Halloween! How on earth had I forgotten Halloween?! Getting to dress my baby up and haul her around to hear oohs and aaahs and get free candy. Somehow, in all of the scheduling and trying hard not to freak out about her surgery, I had forgotten that there were fun moments on the horizon. Still, I didn't want to buy her a costume. Afterall, we still don't know when the surgery will be. She could be in the hospital for Halloween. So, that was where I had left things until last Friday. During our weekly Meijer trip last Friday, I noticed that the Halloween costumes were out. There, sitting in the middle of the isle was the perfect costume for my daughter--a ladybug! We call ladybugs "doodlebugs" and we call her our doodlebug, so it seemed exactly right. We considered a different costume, only to discover it didn't come in her size. The ladybug did! Still, in the back of my mind, I wasn't sure I wanted to purchase a costume yet. My mind was full of what-ifs. Suddenly, a sense a calm came over me and I knew I had to buy it. Buying it was a leap of faith. Faith that she will get to celebrate Halloween regardless of whether she is in the hospital. Faith that she will be fine. Faith that life will go on post-surgery. It was and is more than a costume. It's a reminder of normal life. A reminder to treat Lil' Bit as though there is nothing wrong. A reminder to plan for the future. A timely reminder to be sure, as Lil' Bit's first birthday is swiftly approaching and I'll need to get cracking on planning in case the first two weeks of November are used up caring for her post-surgery. What a wild first year it has been, and continues to be. There's no way to know what will happen in the next two months and no way to be fully prepared for everything even if I could know. All I can do is the same thing I've been doing the last 10 months--spend every day winging it, trying not to make the same mistakes more than twice, and remembering to enjoy the ride. Oh, and living vicariouly through Lil' Bit's wardrobe. ;). Come on Halloween!

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