In addition to The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and The Monkey’s Paw is another Halloween story that I traditionally narrate to all who will listen: It was the year my family ran out of candy to pass out to the trick-or-treaters (and, let me tell you, this never happened again).
My mother and I were making an emergency trip to the store for back-up supplies. In our absence, Dad had given away all the candy I’d collected around the neighborhood earlier in the evening. What followed was (debatably) one of the most memorable arguments that my parents had. My mother fumed that it was MY candy, with a passion even more intense than mine. My father was sheepish and regretful; his argument that I shouldn’t be eating such food because I have diabetes carried absolutely no weight.
Looking back at this night – punctuated by slamming doors and promises of compensation – I realize my parents were fighting about my diabetic rights, the right to do the things that kids without diabetes do, the right to make the decision on my own about what I put in my mouth.
It’s a Halloween, diabetes, coming-of-age tale. The unjust action of my father was not the only source of anger for my mother. This action, albeit unintentionally thoughtless, represented every possible injustice that might confront a child with a chronic illness. My father was thinking of me as a person with diabetes while my mother’s perspective was more like my own: a child who only knows she loves candy (and hers was unfairly given away). Even now I am filled with remorse that I made any kind of excessive protest. My poor, poor Dad.
Candy back then – thirty years ago – seemed hard-won on Halloween. A lot of effort went into collecting one’s sugary loot, separate favorites from those that could be traded or abandoned. In today’s environment of celebration-by-consumption, it’s nearly impossible for a person with diabetes not to indulge a little on Halloween, one of the most eagerly exploited holidays of this kind. (And indulge we do - and so we should. I’m not here to convince you otherwise, I assure you.)*
What I wonder is this: when did the volume of candy become the measure of our enjoyment or even the success of the celebration? I can’t imagine it’s healthy – physically or sociologically – for one’s mind to go back to the weight of the candy-filled pillowcase – be it heavy or light – when asked how the holiday was.
*Information posted on Podder Talk is not intended to be taken as medical advice. Always consult with your healthcare provider for questions and guidance on managing any health-related issues.