Time and again I am reminded of how powerful traditions are in shaping our lives; and ever more so when your family includes small children. For these beings, who do not yet register the meaning of "October 24th", for whom a single calendar year may span a lifetime, seasons, holidays, and traditions literally provide the framework for the year, for their lives. They exist in a magical state in which every morning awakes with wonder of "what adventures will today bring"?
In her lifetime, Ava has been to the pumpkin patch twice before. But this year she has a new recognition, an understanding, of what we do there and what it signifies. These traditions are markers not just for the little ones, but for us parents too as we think back to previous years and consider how much our little loved ones are blossoming, filling in their skin and becoming with every day more of who they are. So many pumpkins in a patch, each one unique. I observed the other families who were at the patch with our same intentions this past weekend. The air was surprisingly warm, the sky hazy and bright. Their cameras, too, clicked away trying to capture this moment. Because we adults are so familiar with time and how it passes. How it accelerates.
Even this sweater, knit when baby Eli was in my belly and I could only wonder about him, this sweater that seemed so enormous when I finished it - as if he'd never grow big enough to wear it. This sweater is another physical marker of the passage of time. One that he will too soon outgrow and leave limp and neatly folded in the back of the closet as he moves on, stretching further and further.
We snap a picture and freeze a moment. A moment so brief it was over just as soon as it began. And we hold on to that image, a reminder of a time that will never be again - for these little ones are already bigger than they were two minutes ago. And, yes, so are we; though the change in us is so much less perceptible.
Somehow bringing home a trunkful of orange and green orbs makes it feel official. With Halloween a week away we have entered this glorious time of year so filled with celebration. The decorations go up and stay up, rotating as the months turn through to the final days of the cold season. The pace of making speeds unrelenting, with ideas for projects, gifts, crafts, decorations churning in my head. Oh, how I love this time of year and these traditions that give us the sense that, yes, we have been here before; though everything, really, is different. I wish you happy and productive days leading up to Halloween. And remind myself (and perhaps you as well) to savor these very special days ahead.