My Scrambled Nest

An Almost-Empty Nest Journey of "Letting Go" With Laughter and Love, By Cathy Free

As I wrote this long overdue blog post, my daughter was preparing for her high school’s annual Halloween stomp, which is always held on the Saturday AFTER All Hallows’ Eve. This year, my daughter and her boyfriend decided to dress up as Alice in Wonderland and the Mad Hatter. You can probably guess which costume my kid wore this past weekend. With her long blond hair and mischievous sense of adventure, she was born to play Alice.

For more than two weeks, my daughter searched high and low for an Alice costume that didn’t consist of a micro-mini skirt, plunging bodice, fishnet stockings and an apron that wouldn’t cover a white rabbit. She wanted Alice in Wonderland, not Alice in Hookerland, but alas, she couldn’t find anything appropriate.

So what did she do? My girl searched the deep confines of the basement for my sewing machine (which has been used exactly twice since the Cretaceous Period) and made her own costume, sans pattern, sans instructions, sans any sewing experience other than a summer class she took when she was in the fifth grade. As the machine whirred late into the night, I was in awe of her talent and determination, and also felt a twinge of sadness. This was her last Halloween before she goes off to college next fall.

On Halloween evening, as I crunched through dry leaves during my customary walk around the ‘hood to check out everybody’s costumes (it’s much more fun to see the ghouls in action, rather than wait for the doorbell to ring), I saw lots of superheroes, princesses, skeletons and vampires, but no Alices. I did see a girl dressed up as Dorothy from “The Wizard of Oz,” though, with her dad accompanying her as the Cowardly Lion. They took me back to 2007 — the year my daughter decided to be Dorothy and I drove her to four toy stores in search of the perfect stuffed “Toto” to put in her wicker basket. And a preschooler dressed as a tarantula reminded me of Halloween 2010 when my daughter was “Queen of the Black Widows” and paraded with her pirate brother around the neighborhood with a red hourglass on her black velvet dress, a giant web on her back and an enormous spider “crown.”

When I returned home from my trick-or-treat trek, I wore that creepy crown on my own head to answer the door, half-expecting to see my daughter bound up the steps and ring the doorbell like she used to at the end of her happy rounds.

How delightful it was to watch her frantically brush her hair on Saturday night (“I’m late, I’m late, for a very important date!”) and slip into her Alice costume, finished just hours before. “Bye, Mom, gotta run,” she said with a Cheshire cat grin after posing for a few quick snaps with her Mad Hatter boyfriend. “I’ll be home by midnight.”

I smiled through happy tears, recalling a favorite “Wonderland” phrase as she hurried out the door. Life really has become “curiouser and curiouser.”


2 thoughts on “Down the Rabbit Hole

  1. DBrownell says:

    My daughter danced as Alice in her graduating year from high school…….how I miss those days. The production was filled with dancers of all ages, and the costume appropriate.

    1. Cathy Free says:

      That sounds delightful. Enjoy those memories. I’ll sure look back on mine with a smile. : )

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