Now I know why my parents stayed up all hours of the night making killer Halloween costumes. This was before so many varieties of ready-made costumes were available at “reasonable” prices. But even reasonably priced costumes total a pretty penny for a family of four kids (both then and now). Besides, I think my Dad, in particular, liked the challenge of making a much-beloved character out of humdrum household items. Thus my parents rallied all their creative energies, sometimes pulling all-nighters, to produce priceless gems–like my to-die-for Rainbow Bright costume complete with bright yellow yarn wig or the Rocketeer costume for my brother that was nothing short of a-MAAAZ-ing.
A bright-eyed Dusty Crophopper
Fast-forward twenty plus years later…my initial idea for a Mickey Mouse costume this year became quickly overshadowed by my son’s growing fondness for Dusty Crophopper and all things aviation. *This was after seeing the movie Planes three times (thank you, Daddy).*
Yes, there were Dusty costumes available at reasonable prices. But I decided instead to gather poster board, milk jugs, soda bottles and paint, and like my parents before me, make Halloween magic. In the process, I discovered the real reason my parents poured their hearts into our costumes all those years before.
Because when your kid wants to be something, you move heaven and earth to make it happen.
Imagining the delighted expression on Buddy’s face when I showed him the finished Dusty costume — well, the sheer thought of it almost made my heart burst. This, in turn, made engineering rotating propellers from recycled soda bottles slightly less agonizing and allowed painting cardboard wings to reawaken some childlike excitement in me.
Dusty on a mission.
I never thought much of airplanes before. Those enormous, miraculous, gravity-defying machines flew over me every day for years, and I didn’t notice or care. That was UNTIL my son’s small voice and wide eyes pointed my attention to the sky. Now, we watch. We listen. We identify by the sound of the engine or the propellers. And we cheer!
You’d think we won the lottery.
And that is exactly what my parents did for me. They loved what we loved, and they used those things to engage our imaginations and our passion. Now, I get to do it. And it is pure bliss and so easy, because you already love your kid SO much – it just flows out of you.
Right now, Dusty is all the rage. So I, too, have a fondness for the crop dusting plane who dreamt of racing bigger and faster planes. Though everyone told him he wasn’t strong or fast enough, Dusty went on to (*SPOILER alert) win the race! But it is HOW Dusty won that is most important – he made friends, treated others with respect and ignored snarky criticism. He didn’t put his ambition above his integrity. In fact, it was his integrity that led him to victory. Is it a simplified version of life? Maybe. But as long as my son wants to be Dusty, he will admire the things that make Dusty great. His originality, boldness, tenacity, positive attitude, honesty and grace under pressure–all ideals worth personifying in real, everyday life.
Mommy and her favorite little airplane!
You don’t need to MAKE the costume. And it doesn’t have to be Halloween. Our kids can dream big any day of the year. We simply need to love what they love, and help them discover and be what they so admire. It is one of the greatest privileges and JOYS of parenthood. But we can miss opportunities if we’re not paying attention.
Some day, it won’t be so cool to wear a costume handcrafted by Mommy. But I hope my son will always know, from these early years on, that next to God, his Daddy and I are his biggest fans.
So catch those tailwinds, Dusty! The sky’s the limit, Darling.