Yesterday marked a decade of tradition- for the past 10 years we have been traveling to the mountains to get apples, cider, and pick out our Halloween pumpkin. It’s amazing that the years have flown by so quickly, and it’s a joy to think back to all the different experiences and memories we have had with our little family.
Our first year, the girls had just turned 1. We packed up our stuff early, hit the grocery for some travel sandwiches, and followed our friends up the windy country roads into the mountains, getting lost along the way and arriving to a very empty pumpkin patch.
Back then, our country patch was like a hidden gem.
The girls, being newbie walkers, glided curiously around the large pumpkins, smiles wide. They didn’t even have shoes yet. By the end of the afternoon, their socks were stained red from trampling dirt and wood chips. I snapped a few pictures (on a disposable camera! HA!) and relished in the experience of watching them.
I never thought I’d continue this for so long, with a decade of memories trailing behind me.
There were years full of dark clouds and rain, and we ran to the car from the patch, getting wet and muddy as we threw our pumpkins in the trunk. There were times when it was windy, and we pulled our hoods over our heads; my husband pushing the girls in an over-sized wheelbarrow. Contrast to that, there were times when it was hot and the sweat poured down my forehead as I tried to get one more family picture.
Sometimes we picked sacks of apples, and other times we rode hay rides. Sometimes we only had enough money to buy pumpkins and come home. Always though, we were together, and we made another imprint on our year.
This was marking the beginning of the holidays, of our traditions. It’s a gift.
When my son was only a few months old, we happily drove once again to the patch. That first year he screamed like a banshee in his car seat, and I tried to breastfeed him by leaning from my seat into his. My back felt like it was going to break in half, but I was desperate to calm him down before we arrived. Once there, I was so excited to show him the orange pumpkins, bigger than he, and I proudly plopped him on top of one and took pictures (on a digital camera! HA!).
And there was even the year that my husband got the flu, and had to unfortunately stay home. And even though it felt strange, I still pulled the kids together. With Grandma for support, we fled once again to the patch.
In the patch, there is comfort in repetition. It’s why we do what we do every year- hanging up decorations and dressing up and cooking the same food. We are creatures of habit.
We NEED peaceful traditions.
And while our food choices has shifted over the years, we always have had the patch. It’s been a grounding activity every year. No matter what is happening, or where we are emotionally or physically, we make time for the patch.
And there we find joy and happiness, and sometimes solace.
I was telling my mother yesterday that I will continue making time for the patch, because after all, we don’t know how many trips we have as a family. Kids grow up, they move away, and one day we will die. And so, I cherish every trip, every moment, and every single picture.
I’ve literally watched my children grow up, so very very fast, smiling behind the pumpkins….I wish they would stop growing….please stop growing. Just be my little baby forever and never move away. Right?
Experiencing this again yesterday was the cherry on top of a decade.
There was a light drizzle, but of course that didn’t stop us from going. In many cultures, rain is a blessing- it’s a chance for renewal and rebirth.
And my friend that introduced me to this tradition?
I was so thankful to celebrate the 10 years with her yesterday, as our families joined together for a beautiful rainy morning. We hadn’t been to the mountains together since that first time all those years ago. We took pictures (with our phones! HA!), we talked, and we watched our children have fun, exploring the patch and making memories.
And while we weren’t able to actually pick apples this year, we still loaded up on cider, peanut brittle, and a whole peck of golden delicious. My son jumped in mud puddles, and my jeans got soaked, and my daughters had way too much sugar.
It was beautiful.
And so I give many thanks for 10 wonderful years, and cheers to many more. Thank you, thank you, thank you.