You know you’re married to a businessman when you see tinsel hanging from the rafters of the supermarket and pumpkins crowding up the produce aisle and think,

“Wow, Q4 really snuck up on us.”

Q4: That’s business-speak for the last quarter of the year, a time marked by a rush to finalize contracts, meet quotas and get the books ready for the tax man. For moms it means the holidays, a time marked by boxes of decorations making their mass exodus from the attic, rich food, overspending and getting our lists ready for the fat man.

I woke up this morning, October 1st, to a very dark bedroom with four very awake children in it asking for permission to crack open “The Halloween Box.” They have been counting down the days till Q4.

My oldest even brought out Ernie, our “magical” Christmas elf (how did he find him??), who comes and visits our house all the way from the north pole every year to ensure proper Good List behavior. He “hides” every morning as per holiday tradition and when I saw his beady little blue eyes next to my handsome boy’s big ones, I knew I had to nip that one in the bud. I can only handle about 30 days of Ernie. So out of earshot of the others, we sent Ernie back to the north pole with a rain check to have him stay with us after Thanksgiving. Q4 is busy enough as it is without having to remember to stash that red clad elf somewhere new every night.

That’s when they had the brilliant idea to brush off a little, plastic toy skeleton from the Halloween box to take Ernie’s place. You know, a Halloween version to make sure my little goblins behave themselves if there is any hope the Halloween Fairy (or as he’s known in the Peanut’s culture, The Great Pumpkin) will visit them, exchanging their haul of candy for a present. (How do I get myself roped into these traditions?)

Really? What’s next, a Tom the Turkey lurking about, self righteously spying on us over his red snood or else no one gets pumpkin pie? How many conduct checking mascots can one quarter have?

But it’s the traditions that keep this fiddler from falling off her roof and make this time of year so magical for children.

We got our pumpkins today and my porch looks ten times happier. Plus, I’m getting a little excited myself to make my own Christmas wish list. And I’ll actually be glad if the Halloween goodie phantom haunts our doorstep this month. Yes, I’m ready for Q4. (Or at least, that’s what I’ll keep saying to myself because there is no stopping it.)


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