Halloween in Ohio



I drove back from Ohio, a full eight hours from my sister’s place in Portsmouth, through the rolling hills of Kentucky, mist floating up through red and orange and deep yellow leaves looking smoky as the sun burned off the last of it. It was seven am when I started my journey home, and I kept replaying the richness of the past few days in my mind; Friday with my mom and brother, Saturday with my sister, Saturday night with my brother-in-law and a house full of their friends, neighbors, and various ghouls.

The past couple of years have been rough for my immediate family. I won’t go into details because they are not my stories to tell, and they are stories that are still close to the surface, stories from which my people are still healing. They are strong, they are all coming out on top, and the four of us, my mom, my brother, my sister, and I, are reconnecting in a way that is so much stronger. We are coming back to who we all were (together) after a few really rough struggles. But each struggle, fought individually, has become the burden of us all. We are bearing it together, in a way, as much as we can.

I am so proud of my mom and brother, who have had really rough patches of luck, but have pulled themselves up by the bootstraps and reached out to each other and me, and my sister, and in doing so, we have come full circle. I pushed back the tears that came to my eyes when I pulled into the driveway of my mom’s new home– a sweet, small, perfect place in the middle of a densely wooded, quaint little street. She was standing out in the driveway with tears in her eyes, and they spilled over once we embraced. There was a feeling of renewal, rebirth, of finally shaking free of years and years of negativity, shaking free of the wrong person. She is lovely, my mother, and sensitive, and artistic, and generous, and so, so positive. All of the loveliness, all of the positivity, all of who she is, lighthearted and kind, has returned to her. It makes my heart feel lighter.

It was like old times, easy and unburdened. We talked and talked, later joined by my brother. I give him even more privacy here because he is a very private person, but I will say that he is so, so strong, a true fighter with a good and gentle heart, always thinking of others with a strong sense of right and wrong. He is a good person through and through. And he is making it through his own challenges with grace and dignity. I am so proud of him and love him so much. The three of us sat around a dimly lit dinner table that evening to celebrate my brother’s birthday, laughing and reminiscing.

The next morning, my mom and I took a nice long walk to breakfast, all bundled up against the brisk fall morning, and enjoying the walk back again before goofing off and trying on every single Halloween mask from her basement stash. I never fail to laugh very hard when I’m around my mom. It was a heartwarming visit, between the relief I felt at seeing both my mom and brother thriving, and feeling like a huge weight had been lifted. DSC_0029DSC_0032DSC_0037

And then, on to my sister’s house, about two hours away, where I was met with more joy and positivity and a great amount of energy focused in on the impending Halloween party. She took me for a long hike up a steep trail, and at the top we looked out over Kentucky and Ohio state lines, the river dividing the land below. It was a good heart-thumping kind of hike, but we talked of motherhood and shared stories of our boys and their most recent shenanigans the whole way, huffing and puffing and all. It was the perfect sister hike. DSC_0039DSC_0043DSC_0050

The rest of the day was just as great. We spent the afternoon preparing for guests: setting up spooky decor, baking goodies, laughing and teasing and cleaning and preparing some more. My sister is another one who leaves me in stitches. She is creative and funny and sharp as a tack, with a  wide vocabulary and great taste in music. I mean great taste in music. She works in a laid back way while preparing for a party, yet somehow always pulls things together at the last second. She is known amongst her friends as a top notch party-thrower. It’s true. Not someone who has had the easy way in life, my sister is one of the strongest, most resilient people I know. I look up to her in so many ways.

The party, of course, was fantastic. There were people from all walks of life, and people from the past who were great to catch up with. We all stayed up way past midnight and on into the wee hours of the morning. And though it was a long and tiring drive home that required more than one cup of coffee and plenty of loud music, I wouldn’t have changed a thing.



P.s. — I went as the bearded lady, but had to remove that thing halfway through the night. Turns out beards are itchy. Who knew?


Thanks, Mom, Jon, Krista, and Eric, for a fantastic weekend. I love you guys!

2 thoughts on “Halloween in Ohio”
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  1. I loved this, it is a tricky balance to try to keep a public journal that’s open and honest and still respect the privacy of family and friends. You do it so gracefully. The pictures all have wonderful light, and that one of your mom in that mask made me chuckle out loud. You guys are way too scary for me (Milo’s costume… eeek!;))

    ps… I really want to make an acorn garland!

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