A scary werewolf stops in the middle of the Callicoon, NY Halloween parade to show off for the photographer.
Plopped in the middle of Callicoon Main Street with a camera in one hand and another camera hanging off my other shoulder, I clicked photo after photo of a child in costume.
That white marshmallow-like guy from Minecraft.
A black cat.
That kid from Stranger Things.
A character from the latest Disney flick.
And on and on it went.
I could identify (almost) every costume as it came through.
Here’s what I couldn’t do: For the first time in a very, very long time, I couldn’t identify the children inside them.
Sure there were the little girls whose moms rode my school bus some two and a half decades ago, and the younger daughters of that guy I went to high school with. There were the two kids from the house next door, the little boy whose photo I’ve taken year after year at this event and of course the baby girl of a woman I met back when she was just a teenager, and I was taking her photo for this paper at a Sullivan County Dairy Princess pageant.
But in a parade I once walked as a small child and later walked as a mom with a small child of my own, the faces I could instantly recognize were few and far between.
This is what happens when your children get older because so too do their peers. So too do your peers.
My child is now at “volunteering at town events to help the little kids’ age,” and so are their peers. And so it was that I saw each volunteer teen and knew instantly their names.
Likewise many of my own peers are no longer walking their small children through our hometown parade. Their children are no longer small.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t yearn for those days of familiar faces marching past me and my camera through the Callicoon parade (hosted by the Delaware Youth Center each October), if only because it would mean I’d have years to go before my own child was no longer small.
I would gladly turn back the hands of time to once again clutch a little costumed hand in mine.
But as time marches on, there’s a comfort in knowing that this time-honored town tradition that provided for me as a child and then for me as a mother continues for more kids and more parents.
Costumes change. Names change. But small town traditions remain ever constant.