Old Faithful

My mother is amazing. She is kind, she is patient- she is basically that First Corinthians bible verse that is read at every wedding.


She is not infallible, and she has made some questionable calls over the years. Some notable failures include her Stalin-esque take on Halloween, her Inability to Make a Decision, and Perms. But possibly the most remarkable, was when she threw away my ‘lovey’ (my special security blanket).

My blankie’s name was Old Faithful, and she was awesome. With her, I was Superwoman. I could leap tall buildings effortlessly, I could fly, and most importantly, I could be quiet. (For those who know me, you know this is a life long struggle. I’m trying, I swear.) I was so attached to my blankie that I even had a back up blankie that was put into rotation while Old Faithful was in the laundry. I HATED when Old Faithful got a bath because I liked her smell. In hindsight, this makes me gag, and is so incredibly gross I cannot stand it!

Sadly, I don’t remember the last time I saw OF. I do, however, remember the last time I looked for her. OF lived in my room, waiting for naptime and good night time. (Because I was a Big Girl, my time with my blankie was limited to times when I sleeping.) I started my investigation in my room, but no luck. I understood this was not a good sign, but I had an ace up my sleeve- the secret hiding place. My mother used a kitchen cabinet that was too high (or so she thought) for me to reach as the secret lair for OF. I will not go into details about how I accessed the inside of that cabinet (some things remain trade secrets to this day), but OF was not there. Still, I was not totally without hope… I was sure my mom would know where OF was.  (Hopefully, she was not in the laundry.) I believed then, and I still do, that my mom knows everything (well, almost everything. I don’t think she knew I could access the secret cabinet). I tracked her down, and using my best five year old investigational skills, I inquired about OF’s whereabouts.  For good measure, I even used my most polite voice, my best manners, and I threw in a cute face.

“Gone”, came the answer, like a ton of bricks.

NONONONONONOOOOOOOO. This must be a mistake!

Where could she be? And why was my mother so blase about her whereabouts?!

To be fair, when I questioned my mom about her super mean judgement call, this is what she had to say: It was not an easy decision on my part but you were in kindergarten with front teeth that were going to make an orthodontist rich.

Touche on the teeth…

Stalin’s Halloween… Why I Send My Mother My Therapist’s Bills Every October

After we came home from Trick or Treating, my sister Jennifer and I were stuffing our faces with our Halloween candy as fast as we could; with the fervor of starving children who were in danger of having their bread and water taken away.

bread and water Stalins Halloween... Why I Send My Mother My Therapists Bills Every October



All of that hard work, the valiant ‘soldiering on’ through the elements in pursuit of just one more Snickers, for nothing. All of the careful sorting, the answering of tough questions- are Sixlets chocolate? What about chocolate Necco wafers?- and nothing to show. All of the hard own victories on the Trading Floor- three rolls of Smarties for one Butterfinger  is totally fair- rendered hollow.

In the history of Unfairness, this is the Most Unfair Thing Ever.

UNfair Stalins Halloween... Why I Send My Mother My Therapists Bills Every October

Even the UN couldn’t save us…

My mom explained that this was the Fair Way.(To this day, I do not know who died on Halloween and made her the Fairness Fairy. She certainly wasn’t the Fairness Fairy the other 364 days out of the year.) Laura (our youngest sister) did not get as much candy as Jennifer and I did (because she was a pansy  because she was younger than us), and we all needed to have a fair share to the good candy; that it wasn’t fair for Laura to get stuck eating the waxy peanut butter things while Jennifer and I enjoyed our Now & Laters, Snickers, and Fun Dip. Even at eight and six, that seemed pretty fair to us- Laura did not trudge through sleeting rain, freezing her bunny tail off to get the goods… so she shouldn’t get the same candy.  Of course, Laura sided with my mom.

sleet Stalins Halloween... Why I Send My Mother My Therapists Bills Every October

Once the seizure of the candy occurred, my mom would dump it all- no respect for the careful sorting of each piece- into her large wooden salad bowl and put it on top of the refrigerator, where it would sit and taunt us. After dinner, she would lug the bowl down and with all the empathy of the KGB , would allow us to pick one piece of candy. ONE PIECE. And? We had to rotate who would go first. My friends would have Halloween candy in their lunch boxes for weeks. I had fruit. (Today, I am on board with this choice and credit my love of fruit to my mother. However, a piece or two of candy in my lunchbox would not have killed me.)

KGB Stalins Halloween... Why I Send My Mother My Therapists Bills Every October

looks like her sorority?!

This week, I reminded my mother (as I do every Halloween) how much her Communist style approach to Halloween has scarred me. I will be sending her my therapist’s bill, as I do every October.

Mom I love you.

Laura, mom might have turned you into a commie, but you are not a pansy. I love you too.

How My Mom Turned Halloween Into Red October

Note: Mom, I still love you.

I am still mad about the sharing Stalin style Halloween rules.

So is Jennifer.

(I’m pretty sure Laura is still a fan.)

julia jennifer laura3 How My Mom Turned Halloween Into Red October

Julia, Jennifer and Laura. Clearly Jennifer is still really upset about it.

Sure, dressing up for Halloween is tons of fun. So is the actual Trick or Treating. For me- and I suspect most children over the age of six-, it became a Mission. I had to get as much candy as possible. I was like the Post Office- no amount of rain or snow would deter me from my Mission. (Growing up in Missouri, it was always cold enough to snow. All costumes had to be designed with a snow suit in mind.)

snow pumpkin 537x402 How My Mom Turned Halloween Into Red October

Standard Halloween weather

Personally, my most favorite part of Halloween (credit my OCDo level of commitment to organization) was the post Trick or Treat Sort.


My husband grew up on a farm (which, by definition is in the middle of nowhere), and his Trick or Treating career was far different from mine. (In fact, until Tuesday afternoon, the man had never even carved a pumpkin!) and looked at me blankly when I referenced “The Sort”- the categorizing and the trading of the evening’s spoils.

sorting candy How My Mom Turned Halloween Into Red October

Some people used broad categories- Chocolate, Non Chocolate, and Gross Peanut Butter Waxy Things (I actually tried those a couple of years ago, and they are pretty good- no joke!). I was always far more detailed in my sorting (shouldn’t be too surprising), and used subcategories as well- Butterfingers in the Chocolate pile, SweeTarts in the Non Chocolate pile.


Once the candy was sorted, the negotiations began. Said negotiations were fueled by an unholy alliance of too much sugar, overtiredness, and bloodlust. It was not pretty. These negotiations always included my sister Jennifer, who is two and a half years younger than me. (My other sister, Laura is five years younger than me and therefore was always too young to go and get her own candy.) My mom was concerned that I would dominate the negotiations because I was smarter older, but, Jennifer could hold her own. She always preferred the Non Chocolate to the Chocolate, so many trades were made.

NegotiationBootCampCover3 How My Mom Turned Halloween Into Red October

As taught by kids geeked up on sugar on Halloween

Perhaps all ambassadors should be required to trade Halloween candy with a ten year old prior to assuming their post. They would learn a lot in both negotiations techniques and how to function in a combative environment(all of it above board, of course).


As soon as the Final Bell rang on the trading floor, Jennifer and I would shovel as much of the candy down our throats as we could. We ate the candy with the fervor of starving children who were in danger of having their bread and water taken away.


We had to. The candy was about to “redistributed”…