Yes, but at least she's not Chewbacca

I suffered, so that she doesn't have to

"Claudia, you're in your 30's. Isn't it time you stopped telling that story?"

No Mom, it's never time to stop. I must warn others, like a Public Service Announcement, you know?

This is A's third Halloween. The first year she was a bee, last year she was a chicken, and this year she's a dragon. Each year I buy her a Halloween costume almost as soon as they hit the shelves. Why, you ask? Because I don't want her to have to be Chewbacca.

Let me take you back a bit. The year was 1978. I was in the third grade. Like most kids, I was pretty psyched about Halloween. Free candy from the neighbors - what's not to like? I asked my mom repeatedly about my costume (what, oh what, would she pick out for me? And when?). Alas, she waited until Halloween day to buy my costume and all the good ones were gone. So she bought what they had left: Chewbacca.

Keep in mind that Star Wars had come out and as you may recall, it was a big deal. So in that sense my mom may have had the idea that I might actually WANT to be Chewbacca. Well, no. All the other little girls were pretty princesses or pink ballerinas and that's what I wanted to be, too. Or maybe even Holly Hobbie - I already had her lunchbox! (Speaking of Holly Hobbie, have you noticed that she is back? Tragically, she no longer wears a patchwork pinafore over her floral dress - she's "hip" now.)

So, I trudged around the 'hood in my costume, irritated yet not so irritated as to refuse to collect the candy that was rightfully mine. In my mother's defense I should add that at the time she was a single mom who worked full time to make ends meet, but when you're eight years old all you're really thinking is: Where is my tutu? My tiara? My sparkly slippers?

So there you have it, my Halloween story. I generally avoid dressing up and attending costume parties these days. I can never think of a clever costume and live in fear of hearing the words: "So, um, what are you?" I tell my Mom that I'm so traumatized by the Chewbacca incident that I probably need therapy. I can hear the therapist now: "Yes, you are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and yes, it's definitely all your mother's fault."

Mom, when you get done reading this I just wanted to let you know that I am also looking forward to telling the story of the time you didn't believe I had Mono and you made me take out the garbage. And then later Dr. Takagi ran a blood test and confirmed that I was really, really, really sick. Remember?


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