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Hello

Welcome! Lenkaland shares my adventures in creative photography, raising kind children, writing, living with chronic illness, raising a daughter with dyslexia, and swimming with mermaids. Hope you have a nice stay!

Happy Halloween! I spent the day with Ian at school, carved a pumpkin with Anika, and went trick-or-treating on crutches! What a lovely day. Right? Right. And wrong.

This was me over the weekend. I was the Monster High character, Draculaura. I look just like her :). Dressing up is fun!

And, unfortunately, costumes are work, too. On Halloween day, I woke up early to get myself into something festive. I was a pirate (sorry, no photos of that outfit). I helped Anika and Ian dress in costumes for school. I said I would help with Ian's class Halloween activities. Because I never help in their classes and I love Halloween. I thought it would last an hour or two.

His class is a fun transitional kindergarten. They were so excited! Ian's amazing teacher had a bunch of delightful activities, so my plans for an hour or two quickly fell away. And as much as I tried to sit or keep off my fussy ankle, I kept needing to get something, or investigate the loud noise in the hallway, or clean an applesauce spill. I loved being mama-helper, except it was just the beginning of the day. And we spent a lot of time outside where storm clouds swept over the sky.

Chilly temps, uneven ground, and high-energy kids. Plenty for one day, right?

Right. Except the day was just beginning. School ended early for Anika and we all went home. I was good and put ice on my ankle for awhile. For some reason, I hadn't carved our pumpkin the weekend before. It seemed like we'd have plenty of time on Halloween day since school let out early. What a great way to get us outside and prepare for the evening, right?

Right. And wrong. The storm made it too chilly to go outside by afternoon. We carved on the kitchen counter. And she helped a lot this year. My growing girl!

It was a big pumpkin requiring strength to get the knife sawing through thick orange skin. Nothing too bad, but more time for me standing. My feet ached and burned by now. A side effect of my ankle injury is that I cannot get my heel on the ground, so the nerves under the ball of my foot (which carries most of my weight) get pinched and start to burn like matchsticks. Not fun.

But this girl, this girl was having such fun. So I smiled and embellished the pumpkin-grin and asked if she wanted any more help. Because I love doing these things with her.

By now, my legs were getting heavy as though cement coated my bones. And I had the fatigue-fog where my thinking dulls and it's tough to make any plan other than "bedtime, now."

Anika's friend wanted to trick-or-treat with us, and the neighbor friends wanted to meet us. Anika kept handing me the phone. "They want to know what time," or "Where are we going, exactly?" Since I needed crutches, we couldn't go to our usual evening street party in Nevada City. The streets there are steep, with houses up long stairways, and the roads in disrepair with crumbling pavement. All bad at night, in crowds, on crutches.

We would try the local church festival, then go to a nearby neighborhood. My husband could drive, even though it was a short walk. That made me feel guilty, but I wore my brave-boots and forged my own path.

Her friend could meet at our house. We would find the neighbors at the fair. Ian changed his mind about his costume and I didn't care. Getting out was a big enough challenge. I wanted to stay inside and warm. Maybe with a scary movie.

Instead, I watched Ian play mini-golf holes at the festival. I stood, on crutches, in the cold.

How could I miss this?

Ian forgot his jacket at home so he borrowed sister's extra sweatshirt in the car. He wanted the camoflauge jammies to go with his Batman oufit. Except he was tired of the cape. And he left the mask at home. And he didn't care one bit. When people asked, he said very confidently, "I am Batman with a coat on."

These years pass quickly. And I do not want my physical challenges to keep us from the important stuff. We went on our adventure. I walked way more than I planned. Parking was difficult. My husband picked us up for the way back, but by then I was beat-down.

At the same time, the kids had a fantastic Halloween. Ian learned about porch lights. "The light's on, let's go!" He loved trick-or-treating. He woke up the next morning ready to do it all again. Let's go!

Except I woke up and had to go teach the next day. I am still recovering from it all.

It takes so much pushing, pushing, pushing not to disappoint the people that I love. And not every day, but more and more days. I miss who I was ten years ago. I miss the energy. The easy way of enjoying common moments.

Slow down. This ankle takes a heavy toll. Next year might be easier. Oh, and the time change was so annoying! Years ago they bumped the time change a week, so it doesn't get dark until almost 7pm. And kids don't want to trick-or-treat until it's dark. Which means a later night for families.

Enough venting. I just want to share the authentic back-story behind the pretty photo story. Being a mom with CMT challenges me beyond my reasonable limits. I hurt. And I rise up. I find scraps of strength and knit together a story of laughter and love. My life is a quilt of struggle and triumph. The tricks. And the very sweet treats.

Honestly. I am blessed. Right?

Right. No tricks about it :)

Ghosts of Bridgeport

Halloween Treats