Every now and then, you do something that’s not only good for familial relationships, but which is also cathartic. It’s cathartic like the way watching Augustus Gloop glutton his way up the chocolate tube makes you feel better about the time you spend in the gym. It’s cathartic in how watching a nose picker in the car beside you come up with a nugget only to find that he/she is out of hankies, makes you feel better about yourself.
That’s what the yearly familial trek to the punkin patch is for me.
We didn’t really have family traditions around the holidays growing up. Oh we had a “fairly close to Christmas eve” family get-together, but to my knowledge, we didn’t go get pumpkins; we didn’t go cut a Christmas tree; and we certainly didn’t decorate for Halloween.
I like traditions. To me, they are the best kinds of memories (not that I really have much of a basis for this belief). So, I try to decorate a bit for the holidays, and I take the family out to a local tree farm and I hack down a tree with an old fashioned handsaw, and each year we go to “Berry Patch Farms” here in the burbs and we pick out pumpkins–overpriced pumpkins to be exact.
Sunday morning (yes, we skipped church…get over it!) MLE woke up at 6 a.m. I heard him because I was sleeping on the couch after having woken up at 1 a.m. with back and leg spasms and having gone downstairs so as to not wake up CareerMom. After the usual Saturday morning routine, we all piled into the car and arrived onsite at the punkin patch when it opened at 10 a.m.
They have a nice setup there. There are a few choice farm animals for the kids to fawn over. They have face painting and a little swing play area. Then, you take a hayride over to the punkin patch where you trek across 50 yards of leftover punkins–still on the vine in many cases– to a main area where the majority of the big ones are gathered.
And then, the pictures commence!
Along with a dozen or so other parents, for nigh on 30 minutes we cajoled, we bribed, we even occasionally threatened our children to do something cute (or else!) just so we could get that one picture…that one memory to stick away in a book somewhere, or maybe to e-mail to all our friends.
But we got a few and then we let the boys pick out a couple of pumpkins to take home. We all loaded back onto the hayride and it was then that I noticed we were the only ones actually buying pumpkins. It seems everyone else just came for the pics, and that made me kinda sad.
Isn’t part of the fun, taking a pumpkin home with you? Does the kid care that you brought them to the punkin patch and just took pictures of them and let them feed the goat some leaves you stripped from a nearby tree? Is that a good memory? I dunno.
The carthartic part, for me, was watching all of the other parents with their kids. And so many of them seem to be going through the same things we are with ours–the defiance, the pulling away when you want them to do something, the annoying whines–it was all there on display. It made me realize that we’re not the only ones sighing on a regular basis, or praying for just one quiet meal at the dinner table. It was a good moment. Kind of like when you blog about something and a bunch of other people respond in kind.
So we did it and I have the pictures to prove it, good or otherwise. Now, if the weather would just cooperate and drop about 15 degrees, it’d be pretty darn perfect!