We keep a skeleton in our closet. Literally. It was either last year when we studied medieval history or the previous year when we studied pirates that we bought a glow in the dark full-sized Halloween skeleton with light up green eyes. Our lesson room, now changed to a breakfast room, contains a closet, probably added by a previous owner trying to use the small space as an extra bedroom. It has a clothes rod in the top that I used to hang artwork from when the boys were small, and still use to hold charts and such. The skeleton hangs from this rod. It hasn't occurred to me how difficult Mr. Skeleton is to work around. I added several shelves and bins to the closet so that it holds all of our schoolwork and computer paper, charts, etc. We found it hilarious to hang the skeleton in our closet when the rest of the room was decorated in a theme. Now he hangs there so obviously in the way but not an actual hindrance to our daily lives. We just push him aside to do what we have to do every day, but wouldn't dream of taking him down, except for the few days around Halloween that he gets to proudly hang from our front stoop, behaving as a glow in the dark skeleton with green light up eyes was meant to behave. He swings ominously in the wind, his lanky limbs flopping about, while crinkled leaves and even occasional snowflakes drift by.
Tonight I walked past Mr. Skeleton where he was hanging when we were done with our away from home Halloween festivities. It was an odd Halloween. We didn't realize until this morning that we hadn't carved Jack O' Lanterns and that we hadn't had any Halloween candy in the house but for a package of candy corn/pumpkins a few weeks ago, which really isn't like us at all, we love Halloween candy and can't usually resist the urge to throw a package or two into the grocery cart every other food run this time of year. It was also strange, yet wonderful, to have my husband home all day and to not have to wait until clock-out time at some corporate job for him to pull in from work before we could head out for Halloween fun. But there hung Mr. Skeleton, free for a short time from the confines of his closet, oddly comforting in the moonlight as one of our newest holiday traditions .
I thought to myself as I walked up the porch steps, that, fortunately, he is the only skeleton in our closet. By the time I entered the sun room, however, at least five other skeletons our families keep hidden entered my mind. As I walked through the kitchen, snippets of conversations and old family stories and incidents flooded my thoughts, all before I reached the bedroom to put away my coat, and I had to giggle. Then, as was inevitable, I was saddened by some of my history. I often feel embarrassed for "baring all" in my blogs, but tonight I realized that some skeletons are meant to be left in the closet, constantly being pushed aside or to the back of our minds so we can just get through each day and do what we have to do. We may pull them out on occasion when the subject of their existence comes up, letting them air in the wind for a bit, but we wouldn't dream of permanently pulling them out of the closet. Their glowing eyes may even haunt us in the night, through periods of insomnia, but those skeletons have helped to make us who we are and so are allowed to stay hidden away. At other times, we may wish to stop and study them in moments of introspection, but like Mr. Skeleton, the longer we look, the more unpleasant they may appear.
The nice thing is that when they start to freak us out we can just shut the closet door and pretend they don't exist. And unlike Mr. Skeleton who is purposefully exposed like clockwork, it may be years before others see the light of day. Some skeletons I don't mind leaving hanging around to get dusty, brittle, old and decrepit, but others have hung out in the open for so long that they needed to be shut away and left to time, and I realize never should have been on display in the first place. But Mr. Skeleton? He will be allowed to flutter around, giving passersby the shivers, at least until the end of the week when he will be moved back into the closet until next fall.