In support of teenage trick-or-treaters

My son, aka Unicorn Man

I’m the mother of a 5-foot-10 high school freshman.

He looks like a man, sounds like a man, and (at times) acts like a man, but he’s still trick-or-treating this Halloween.

You know why this makes me happy? Not because of my sentimental need to hold onto his childhood a little longer. Not because I’m looking forward to the massive haul of candy he’ll bring home.

I’m happy because I recognize that the path from childhood to adulthood is crooked. Sometimes it even doubles back on itself. My son grabs his independence with both hands and then, in the next moment, he crushes my legs because he wants to sit on my lap.

The teen years are full of push me/pull you from both of us. I push him to take responsibility for himself as I pull him close to advise. He pushes me away with silence and boundaries and then pulls me toward him for validation and reassurance.

From "What you need to know about 6-foot trick-or-treaters:"

When a crowd of under-costumed teens shows up on your doorstep, welcome them. It’s a big group because they find strength in numbers. They’re not wearing costumes because they didn’t realize that they’d want to go–nor how badly.

It’s Halloween. A lighthearted moment for my son to choose between the man he’s becoming and the boy he is. There are fewer of these moments each passing year.

I say: grab it with both hands.