It is Halloween night. Katelyn hands me a bag of Skittles.
“Daddy, here, eat some…” is her command.
I comply. Katelyn is enjoying passing out candy far more than getting it from door-to-door, and trying to eat a bag of Skittles AND pass out candy is multi-tasking that she’d rather not do.
I comment to the wife, who’s opening a new bag for Katelyn to pass out, about the Skittles: “These will always be special, no?”
Skittles have a deeper meaning in our household, beyond their role as coveted booty in a 5-year-old’s treat bag after an hour of trick or treating. It is a meaning given to it by a bailiff in a Monterrey Park courtroom–Edmund Edelman Children’s Court–a sheriff’s deputy sneaking a treat to a 1 1/2 year-old about to be adopted by a childless couple who had been her legal guardians since she was 3 days old.
Halloween is also Katelyn’s adoption day, the day the wife and I became her “official” parents.
Four years have since passed, yet I still chuckle thinking back to the bailiff’s choice of what to treat a toddler who was still making the transition to solid food, in particular a small round candy that still posed somewhat of a choking hazard for someone so young. On the other hand, that small gesture, along with the large pink bunny that accompanied the Skittles was a priceless symbol of the end of the long journey to bring Katelyn officially into our home, especially after the emotional drama of the previous March. It was then when we had to wait for the results of a court-ordered DNA test to determine that a young man who had come forward to claim parenthood of Katelyn, wasn’t, in fact, her biological dad.
Effectively, the courtroom proceedings that morning had none of the earlier drama. The morning was mere formality, with official paperwork being approved and signed, smiling family members from both sides sitting in the gallery, Katelyn in her pretty white dress with big black bow, and, of course, the Fun Size package of Skittles. Becoming a dad on Halloween morning that day though, was way better than any candy.
So, when Kate shoves the half-empty bag of Fun Size Skittles in my hand this evening, I do what she tells me. I eat the rest. It just seemed to be the appropriate thing to do.