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When I was in second grade, my mother asked me what I wanted to be for Halloween. Without a second of hesitation, I said I wanted to be a princess.  I wanted a dress with a crown.  I wanted pretty shoes and make up.  She said okay and I went to bed believing my mother was going to make me into a princess.

The next morning, I jumped out of bed and ran to the living room where my mother would lay out our clothes for school.  I stared at the pile of clothes in my spot and tried to wrap my mind around my concept of a princess and what was before me.

“You’re going to be a hobo.”

“I wanted to be a princess.”

“I was a hobo when I was your age.  It’ll be fun.”

A hobo was a far cry from being a princess.  I cried as I pulled on the old raggedy clothes my mom dug up from somewhere.  I cried as she made my face look dirty.  I sucked back my tears as my dad took me to school.  I had to pull it together and save face for my friends.  As everyone sat on the rug, my friends wanted to know what I was supposed to be.

“A hobo!” I cried.  Then the tears streaked my dusty face.

“You still look cute,” said my friends as they tried to console me.  But I was bitter.  I wanted to be a princess and my mom sent me to school as a hobo.  Today I can laugh about it.  As my youngest son tries to decide which one of the expensive one-time-only costumes he wants to wear for Halloween, I think back all those years ago and better understand my mother. She was being practical.

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