So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

I don’t normally cry on Halloween. 

But then again, this wasn’t a normal Halloween.

This year, as October 31st crept closer and closer on the calendar, I couldn’t help but feel like my usual excitement was overshadowed by all of the heavy things going on in the world right now.

It’s been a hard year, and I’m just really, really tired. With the double whammy of Daylight Saving Time and a heated election to follow immediately after, I was really struggling to get into the spirit of the holiday.

RELATED: Even My Tired is Tired

On Friday afternoon, I was sitting at my kitchen table debating our options and whether we would even try to trick-or-treat when a notification popped up on my phone alerting me to a message on our neighborhood Facebook page. I quickly clicked on the announcement: 

“Hello!!! We are organizing a parade on Halloween so that the children can walk around the neighborhood and show off their costumes. The idea is to take a walk around the neighborhood keeping social distance between the families. Please bring masks in case we are many families. If you don’t have small kids but still want to participate, a good way would be to greet the kids from the door of your house or play some Halloween music!”

Attached was a map with the “parade route” and an itinerary.

I immediately typed out a response: “LOVE this. We’ll be there! Thank you for organizing!”

The following afternoon, my husband and I helped our squirmy 2- and 3-year-old excitedly get dressed in their pirate costumes, thrilled to finally be old enough to participate and really understand what was going on.

My expectations were beyond low—I figured it would be a relatively small group of stragglers, maybe a few other stir-crazy families who were just excited to get out of the house for a bit like we were.

But when we arrived at the designated meeting place, I was shocked to see almost every child in the neighborhood there, each in costume. And as we started to make our way around the neighborhood, adults in masks and taking extra special care to maintain distance between families, I felt tears of gratitude pressing at the back of my eyes, threatening to spill over.

My neighbors had outdone themselves.

RELATED: My Awesome Neighbors Are Saving Our Summer

Some had strung pieces of candy from streamers in trees.

Some had taped Snickers bars to popsicle sticks and stuck them in the ground for kids to grab as they walked by.

Some had assembled individual goody bags and laid them out on the sidewalk.

Some had rigged up their own homemade contraptions and elaborately-designed chutes to send candy directly into waiting buckets.

Some had put on costumes and stood in their doorways dancing to music and waving.

Everyone was kind and respectful and patient. 

Truly, it was the most magical Halloween I’ve ever experienced.

Not because of massive candy hauls or clever costumes or even the joy of having children who were finally old enough to appreciate it all.

But because of big-hearted people who rallied together to make it happen.

People who pulled out all the stops so that—just for a few hours—we could experience a little bit of normalcy and excitement and fun with our kids during a year where literally everything has been new and scary and uncertain for them.

RELATED: Dear Holiday Season, We Need You This Year More Than Ever

Despite the division and ugliness we’ve witnessed time and time again in 2020, Halloween reignited the small, wavering flame of hope I’ve been holding onto since this all began.

Hope that we can still find ways to come together.

Hope that we can see we are more alike than we are different.

Hope that we can heal wounds and move forward.

Hope that love will always win over hate.

And the realization that this is where the change has to start—within our own communities. With our own neighbors.

I have a feeling that if we can all continue to step up and take care of each other like this, we’re going to be OK.

We really are.

So no, I don’t normally cry on Halloween.

But this wasn’t exactly a normal Halloween.

It was so much better.

Emily Solberg

Emily Solberg is a soldier, military spouse, mom of two, and fierce advocate of women supporting women. The goal of her writing is to help others feel less alone in their parenting journeys, and she isn’t afraid to share the hard parts of her own. You can find more from her over on Facebook and Instagram at Shower Arguments with Emily Solberg.

So You’re Not the Fun Parent…So What?

In: Kids, Marriage, Motherhood
Woman reading book while two play in background

I’m not the fun parent in our household. Of course, this comes as no surprise to me but it still stung when my 8-year-old said to me rather bluntly the other night, “Daddy’s way more fun than you.” And while the rational part of my brain knows better than to take this kind of comment to heart, my super-sensitive, highly emotional primitive brain did the exact opposite and ran with it.  Daddy is the more fun parent. I’m the stricter, more rigid, and more uptight parent. I’m not the type of parent who, in the spur of the moment, will...

Keep Reading

Mine Is the Shy Kid

In: Kids
Girl sitting on side of playground

I’m the mom of one really shy child. But not your quintessential shy kid. I don’t mean she is “slow to warm up,” because my daughter might not warm up at all. And I don’t mean that she’s only shy until she gets to know you. There are friends and family members she still hides from or won’t talk to. What I mean is my almost-4-year-old struggles so much with her shyness that it’s hard for her to interact with most people. Especially her peers. I’ve Googled more than you could ever imagine about this topic: How shy is too...

Keep Reading

In This Magical Place Called Kindergarten

In: Kids
Kids at elementary school circle time

It’s hard to put into words what happens in a classroom in the course of a year. Especially a kindergarten classroom. For many children, this is their first experience away from home, from their place of comfort and security—the place where they can always be themselves. But teachers are a special breed—especially teachers of littles. And they step into this substitute role with the biggest hearts and the most love to give. They take this unknown, intimidating place and then transform it into a magical, wondrous adventure. A classroom, a community, a family. A place where these little people can...

Keep Reading

Summer Goes by Too Fast

In: Kids
Boy lying on bench at park, color photo

To my oldest, As our summer vacation nears an end and we begin school supply shopping, I think about all the things we didn’t get to do together this summer. I instantly feel mom guilt. All the plans I had made? Only half of them done—if that. RELATED: Remember When Summer Lasted Forever? All the books I was going to read to you at bedtime? Only a couple short ones. All the creative art we would do? Maybe just one time. The fact is, I let time slip away from me. I was too focused and anxiety-ridden about work, my...

Keep Reading

Going on Family Vacation with Young Kids is Work That’s Worth It

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mom with two young kids on airplane

Our routine will be a mess. Our toddler won’t sleep in a new environment. Our baby needs all of the gear. The flight could be a disaster. I went through a mental checklist of reasons why this kind of family vacation would be hard. It was a pretty convincing list if I’m being honest. I considered throwing a pity party dedicated to the concerns I shoulder as a mother. A few days later I felt a wave of conviction wash over me. I was dreading a trip that was meant to be a blessing to our family. Any kind of...

Keep Reading

I Want To Raise Good Sisters

In: Kids, Motherhood
Four girls sitting on a rock in the forest, color photo

My current dilemma: how to teach four little girls how to be good sisters when I have no idea what I’m doing? I was an only child growing up, and a tomboy at that. It was a lonely, quiet childhood. I remember wishing for a sister, but knowing that with my single mom, it wasn’t going to happen. So, the sister thing is a big mystery to me. I’ve noticed (admittedly with some envy) adult sisters together and their inside jokes, shared history, and language known only to each other. I’ve read about sisters in books. The relationships between the four...

Keep Reading

I Don’t Just Love You, I Like You

In: Kids, Motherhood
Young boy standing at bridge, color photo

My growing child, my heart often aches when I look at how big you have gotten. You aren’t a baby anymore, you’re a whole kid. You are your own person, with your own thoughts and feelings. You have your own friendships, and interests.  Parts of me realize you don’t need me the same, but deep down I know you need me all the same. And I’m realizing, that in all of these changes, my love for you is also a like.  RELATED: Being Your Mom is the Greatest Honor of My Life Because now we can connect in a whole...

Keep Reading

Dear Kindergartner, I’ll Always Remember You This Way

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and child touch foreheads

The first magical flickers of your strong heartbeat on a black and white screen— the reassuring evidence I needed to know you were gaining strength for this world. My belly grew, and I proudly went shopping for maternity clothes to cover it. I felt the first dances of your little feet, and it reminded me of butterflies taking flight— the movement of a true miracle. I’ll always remember you this way. The sounds of your first cries—music ringing in my ears. You were real, Earth-side, and wanting only to be loved. The softness of your skin, the way you smelled,...

Keep Reading

Having the Tools To Parent a Child with Sensory Processing Disorder Changes Everything

In: Kids, Motherhood
Child playing with water in tube

My heart leaped into my mouth as Soccer Mom, with her matching foldable chairs and ice-cold Gatorade, glared at me. I wanted to explain how hard I tried to be a good mom, to raise a kind human, but I swallowed the words so I could vomit them at my 5-year-old son on the ride home.   Didn’t he know that pushing another child was unacceptable? Hadn’t I taught him to use gentle hands?   RELATED: To the Special Needs Mom Who Sits Alone Despite implementing the parenting books that promised me a new kid by the week’s end, I often wondered...

Keep Reading

There’s No Instruction Manual for These Middle Years

In: Kids
Little girl smiling on porch

As a preschool teacher and a mom, I’ve always felt pretty confident in my parenting from ages birth to 5 years old.  I by no means am perfect, and I silently rejoiced the day my kids could pour their own cereal and turn on Netflix for themselves while I caught some extra sleep. Even though that’s probably not a proud mama moment to celebrate, it’s just the reality of parenting.  We both celebrate and mourn independence as our children need us less. And let’s be honest, oftentimes independence makes our daily lives easier. Yet it is bittersweet.  It feels like...

Keep Reading

Get our FREE phone wallpaper to encourage you as the new school year begins

It's bittersweet for a mother to watch her child grow—but you both are ready to soar.