I’m sure everyone is shocked that Agatha Christie’s Hallowe’en Party is what I’m currently reading, but what can I say, I like to keep things fresh! lol. As a person who LOVES all things Halloween, this book has been setting on my bedside table since September, having been pulled from the shelf as soon as I saw the first stray leaf blow by my car. I put it there just under the book I was reading at the time with a bubble of excitement and a promise to myself that I would not so much as peel back the cover until October arrived…the waiting has been excruciating!
So I probably don’t need to say that I love this book. I also love the television adaptation of this story. Of course it’s not hard to love anything that includes David Suchet…David Suchet and Halloween together? Amazeballs! Strike up the band, all my happiness just collided with the jitters of holiday anticipation!
You wouldn’t know it now, but this story used to really bother me. First and foremost in my life is the fact that I’m a mom, so (no spoilers) the fact that this story involves children in such a macabre way used to set me a little bit sideways, but I find that’s not the case anymore.
I used to see the world as a bright field of flowers where children laughed and played and shared the joys of youthful exuberance like butterflies dancing on the wind…cue the vinyl scratch here. OK, perhaps the image of children flitting around like happy winged insects dancing through the wonderment of life is a bit too cliche, but once upon a time, I was a bit less jaded at least.
Now, I am a mother bear who has suffered the horror that comes from sending your beautiful, sweet, innocent daughter off to the hell known as middle school! You may tell yourself here that I’m being over-dramatic, but I assure you that wading knee deep in eternal lava would be preferable some days to sending my most loved treasure adrift in a sea of cliques fraught with cattiness and backbiting.
I could pull out my soap box here and lament endlessly on the lack of parenting that goes on in society today, as lately I seem to be spending countless hours in my home explaining to my youngest child that the meanness she experiences at school is often caused because this or that child has not been taught any better how to behave, but I won’t do that…
Instead I will tell you that many of our car rides home from school end up being a continuous loop that begins with empathy and ends in an attempt at teaching in regard to not judging the children who behave in negative ways due to the fact that they are clearly lacking, either in confidence, or proper parenting, or both. What I don’t say to her is, “These little bitches need to go apple bobbing!” I want to say it, but I don’t, because it is wrong to despise children…right? Insert nervous nail biting here…
I know it is not the moral high ground to privately daydream about the downfall of certain middle school children, but there are days when I drop my daughter off and watch her climb the steps into school, that I could swear the place takes on the appearance of a Death Star-esk motif as her small steps reverberate in my ears like the menacing bleakness of The Imperial March while I put on my most positive smile and wave at her from my open window singing out, “have a great day!”
Is that a bit dramatic? Yes. Do I feel that way every day? No. But the feeling does seem to come more and more often. Maybe it’s the sensationalism of modern society as reflected in the current tone of the news media, or maybe it’s the fact that our school seems to be holding suicide prevention seminars for 12 year olds on a regular basis that leaves me with such a dark cloud mentality about the whole thing. At any rate, it’s pretty clear that a great many children are suffering quite a bit of emotional trauma both at home and at school.
Regardless of the reasons why, as the mom of a bright, intelligent, beautiful little introvert, I have to tell you that on those days when I pick my child up from school and see tears in her eyes because one group of girls or another seems to think that the movie “Mean Girls” is some sort of preteen popularity instruction manual, I find that I lose sight of my compassion in regard to all the reasons why children do the things they do, and instead lean more toward wanting to host a Halloween party highlighted by a vigorous game of bobbing for apples…
*no children were harmed in the making of this blog post
Thanks to crimesquad.com for the use of this cover pic