A lesson from the Pumpkin Patch

20131023-103822.jpgNow that we are living up North again, there are certain things that we really look forward to doing in this cool Fall weather. Like having soup or hot cocoa when it’s actually cold enough to see your breath. Or dressing up for Halloween without fear of getting a heat stroke.

Another one that Jessica has mentioned several times these past few weeks is going to a pumpkin patch: getting away from the cookie cutter grocery store options and finding an expression of yourself in the form of a ribbed orange squash.

20131023-103758.jpgFor example, once we had all regrouped after we scattered in search of the perfect pumpkin this past Sunday, I was surprised to find out that our second-born (StoryTeller) didn’t select one that looked like butt-cheeks; she loves to make us all laugh. At the same time, I wasn’t at all shocked to see that she had chosen the biggest pumpkin that she could find; it happens to match the size of her personality. Almost. 😉

However, she was outdone – by her baby sister. SugarBaby toddled around on the uneven ground, falling down many times and picking herself back up (I helped a little), until she walked right up to the largest pumpkin around and hugged it. I asked her if she wanted that one, barely containing a laugh, and she replied with a very serious affirmative head nod. I laughed out loud (that’s LOL’d in regular-speak). She then bent over and tried to lift it. It is now home with us, and is the largest pumpkin we hauled back .

20131023-103729.jpgOur 5 year old (SquiggleBug) demonstrated her nurturing side by picking the absolute smallest squash she could find, and cuddled it. I thought she was joking, and wanted to make sure it was really the one she wanted. She was adamant. And I realized I made the classic mistake of thinking that all children want is the biggest thing available. She clearly wanted the cutest.

Smunchie (3) wanted all the pumpkins.

20131023-103744.jpgLolie (10) went for big and beautiful, and EarthBaby (14) wanted the smoothest skin she could find, even if it had a bruise. She’ll just carve it out, she informed us. As for Jessica and I, well, I chuckled when I saw that we had both independently picked out the wartiest pumpkins we could find. No comment on what that might mean for us…

The entire experience at this pumpkin patch was one we will all cherish forever. It’s so good to get out and do something together. There were no fights or arguments that I can remember. We were all there to enjoy the sights, touches, smells, tastes, sounds, and overall experiences to be had. From the live farm animals that SugarBaby belly laughed over, to the straw maze our 3 and 5 year olds didn’t want to leave, to the tricycle-size tractors you could peddle around (Lolie got into that!), and the Kettle corn, and the spiced cider and hot cocoa, to the bales of hay stacked like a pyramid riddled with tunnels for the kids to climb on and through, to the hay ride, pumpkin picking, and the giant – and I mean, GIANT – corn maze with corn 3 feet taller than me. We didn’t even get to the pony rides and the pumpkin launch (picture a giant slingshot made for small-ish pumpkins), and who knows what else we missed?

20131023-102621.jpgMemories are created when we break away from daily routine and do something together. It could be driving to a pumpkin patch, going to a nearby park, walking around the block together, visiting the zoo, or even involving your family in an activity you would typically do by yourself, like cooking a meal, or the dreaded grocery run. My big kids call it a Daddy date when I invite them to tag along to the grocery store, and are disappointed when I don’t. Kids of all ages can cut up veggies for soup, and they’re more likely to eat them too, because they helped! It may be inconvenient. It may also take twice as long. But intentionally spending time together is what keeps us close.

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