We are well into the new school year and, for our family, Ian's first year of middle school. It is an amazing, hectic and demanding change of pace for all of us. You may remember prior to the start of this school year, I was quite anxious about the new world of middle school. It is important to also add that medical experts who work with adolescents tell me my reaction was perfectly normal. I also appreciate those of you who contacted me through social networking with encouragement or to share in the anxiety.
There is some good news as my 11-year-old son moves toward young manhood. Ian is still a kid at heart. I'm careful not to call him my "baby" - he can't stand that - but he's still 100 percent kid. We received confirmation of this by asking one simple question in September: "Ian, are you thinking about trick-or-treating this year or do you think you're too old?" I braced myself for an adamant and indignant refusal to don a costume. Instead, there was a resounding and confident answer in the affirmative.
I have to confess my own reaction to this is mixed because a night of free candy and treats does sound like a lot of fun. In our neighborhood, parents have as much fun as the children, as we grown-ups catch up and responsibly toast the fall season.
The most frustrating element of Halloween is the race to find the perfect costume. Over the years we've gone with the whims of Ian's favorite superhero at the time. It was much easier when he was really young - and didn't understand or argue about being dressed as Winnie the Pooh or a cute little dragon.
This year, Halloween promises to be easy in terms of preparations. My son informs me that he will take care of his costume that night. Because he is spearheading this project, I am sure it will involve a tribute to one of favorite sports: football, basketball or baseball (whichever uniform still fits).
So it appears there will be one less entry on my motherly to-do list and another opportunity to have a good time with my child who is growing up so fast but has clearly grasped a concept often overlooked by adults: Together we'll take a break from busy life to savor the sweet simplicity of Halloween with friends, fun and free candy.
-Tracy Townsend is a news reporter and anchor with 10TV News HD.