They are only seasonal, so they come sometime during August and then close a few days after Halloween. The Boy had been watching the old Borders Book store all summer, waiting and watching to see if Spirit would show up there. One day he nearly lost his nut when he noticed the lights on inside, a sheet over the large BORDERS sign and he ran to the window hoping to see skulls or witches and stuff.
He came flying back to the car one day early August, breathless with excitement to tell me that he saw a few ghosts and the hay by the doors. Everyday after that we'd pull up and he'd run to the door to see what else had been put up, and he hop out of the car to check to see if the doors were unlocked yet.
One day, in late August, The Boy ran to the door, tugged real hard and the force of it nearly knocked him over as it swung open.
He went screaming into the store,much to the surprise of the manager and opening employee's and screamed:
"Why are you open so early? It's not even Halloween!?!?!?!"
To which the manager quickly replied, "I guess we opened up just for you!" And so began The Boy's love affair with not only the Spirit store, but also with the employee's there.
After they opened their doors, we had to go there every single day. When the second store opened a few miles away, we had to start going there, too. He would run around asking those employee's why "Regan" the spitting up girl wasn't put up yet - and where were they going to put the three werewolves? They couldn't believe his attention to detail - in both stores.
Of course, this came at a time when I was saving up for Disneyland and .... to say our living area is smaller would be an understatement, so I couldn't really buy him all the stuff he wanted. He would hop and skip up and down all the aisles, inspecting, pushing all the buttons, squealing with delight when Freddy Kruger would go off and talk to him.
Day in and day out.... we were there. The employee's go to know him by name, and I think they began to look forward to seeing him coming in. They would run up and show him the latest display that had gone up, or ask him what display he thought should go up next.
It was.... a wonderful distraction, to say the least. We would make our trip there daily, while the children would run around checking out the cutest costumes and I would hunt the shelves for any clearance items that I could snatch up to add to our collection.
I love to watch him. The Boy. I love to watch him skip around the store yelling, "MOM! MOM!!!! Come see this!".... so no matter what, every single day we loaded up the car and headed over. Some days were hard because The Boy would want one of the larger talking guys - the Freddy or the Scream Ghost guy, and at two or three hundred dollars - they weren't really in our budget.
Even still, he was filled with joy just walking in the doors.
So Halloween came and went.... and the week had it's emotional drawbacks.... and then we went trick or treating and checked out all his favorite houses that he usually likes and he wanted to cap his night off stopping at The Spirit store. Sadly... the store was closed, they close early that night because employee's of The Spirit store all go to the local children's hospitals all dressed up and with candy and treats for the kids who are there.
Charity aside, The Boy was gutted. Seriously ... my kid is truly broken when he cares more about going to the Halloween store instead of get more free candy. lolol
We've gone back everyday since, waiting for them to finally close. For me, it's bittersweet.... I won't lie - having a holiday take up nearly all of your time gets a bit rough, however, it's so hard to see him have to say goodbye to all the displays - and his OWN displays.
This entire time he's been setting up his own "spirit" stores all over the house. He wrote up his own signs and price tags. He stacked boxes up all over the hallways and set up "step here" buttons and made all these little scenes.
He would wake up every single day to set up more scenes, change a scene - take out one of the boxes and announce they were "sold out". He would make 30% off days, and 50% off days - he would make signs to announce a grand opening.... at least he was getting tons of writing practice. The beauty of being homeschooled is that when he's interested in making all these signs - he just did them on his own. Making sure to leave spaces, getting the correct spelling, and making his letter clear so people could read his signs.
Two months in, most of the employee's were pretty excited to see him coming into the store. a One in particular, Christian, took a lot of time showing The Boy the bubble fogger, or the latest costumes. I'm sure to his annoyance, The Boy would run up and tell them that the Wold Spitter was out of water, or one of the Zombie Babies were out of batteries.
On the last day they were open, I thought The Boy might actually cry. He was excited to see them packing up (all part of the store process, you see) - but then he was horrified that they *were* packing up. We picked through a few of the clearance items and headed up the register. Jae came out with a hat for The Girl and The Boy almost lost his nut with jealousy.... until Christian walked up with his hat.
Then, Christian produced something from behind his back and handed it to The Boy. It was an apron. The Boy WAS STOKED. He was jumping up and down and screaming and yelling and going crazy. All three employees were smiling like Cheshire Cats - you could tell they had been planning this for a while.
Christian then made each of them their own "lanyard" name tags - and their "uniforms" were complete. I'm sure that someone would think it was such a silly thing - but, for The Boy, this was huge. This was..... touching - at least for me.
As parents we worry about what kind of children we are putting into the world, what kind of *people* they are. What kind of 'citizen' they are going to grow up to be. I am exceedingly proud that, thus far, The Boy is the kind of person, the kind of child - who brings out the joy and kindness in other people. That, in itself, is a bit of a gift. I'm so grateful for who he is.
I'm even more grateful that Christian and Jae and the rest of them - also see The Boy for who he is and are touched by it. Going there everyday has been a wonderful distraction for all of us - and I am more grateful than words could possibly express to Christian, in particular, who took so much time and kindness and interest in The Boy - I'll be honest.... he *really* needed that. Really.
and..... to some small degree - *I* needed that. I need a win, once in a while. At a time in our lives where I feel so disjointed and broken and wondering all the ways I've failed thus far as a parent - it's good to see where I've done right... where *we* did right. I suppose if you're going to get anything right at all... it's best to get the kids "right". I know one thing for sure - I'll will eventually get over my failures as a wife and failing El Capitan on whatever levels I did... but it will *never* be acceptable and it will never be something I could acc