Nuts, pumpkins, and everything in between

It took me 31 years to realize I like nuts on my sundaes.

Considering that we eat a disproportionate number of sundaes–as well as other desserts–one might ask how it could possibly take so long to figure out that, when asked, I would want to say YES to the nuts-on-your-sundae question. The answer’s easy: because my mom doesn’t like nuts on her sundaes.

Growing up, I commonly heard that nuts ruin sundaes. I totally agree that for a person who doesn’t like nuts on their sundaes, this is entirely true. However, I took it that they ruin sundaes for everyone, including me, and therefore didn’t even consider the nut option until a few years ago when I finally thought, Hey, nuts are pretty good. Maybe I might like them with my ice cream.

I promise there’s a point to all this.

Our likes and dislikes are perfectly valid, but our children are both blank slates and their own people. I’m often surprised by the things that my kids seem to enjoy–though still no nut takers on sundaes. M likes Nerf gun shoot-outs and soccer, K likes gymnastics and olives, and they both enjoy sucking on lemons. None of these things tickle my fancy.

They also think Halloween is fun.

I hate Halloween. Being a shy child, the act of dressing up made me anxious, as did going door-to-door for any reason. I have few memories of Halloween night, and none of them are positive. But as we all know, emotions are contagious, and I hate even more the thought of transferring my dislike for anything to the kids.

This year, I strung up a pumpkin garland and let them carve their jack o lanterns however they pleased (M’s had tiny teeth, K’s featured jagged mouths with itty-bitty round eyes). In fact, I single-handedly hollowed out eight pumpkins, thanks to the random ones that grew from the seeds in last spring’s compost, and ignored every one of the fancy non-carving adultish decorating ideas on Pinterest as they drew face after face for me to carve. I decorated my fingernails with green and purple nail polish, painted my face like a butterfly according to K’s instructions, and participated in the neighborhood “Boo” chain letter. How K and I laughed as we dashed from our friends’ front door!

I still don’t like Halloween. I still wouldn’t wear a costume, I still couldn’t come up with a scary story. But that’s no excuse to miss out on whatever fun can be had, and life abundant is, in part, about having that fun. More importantly, it’s about showing my kids that there is always fun to be had, even if it’s on the behalf of someone else. Truth be told, joy is just as contagious as dislike, and that’s one attitude I’m happy to pass along.

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