Monday, October 15, 2007

:: Sunday Afternoon ::

Walking down 14th avenue this morning through what is sometimes referred to as the undergrad ghetto, yards all around me strewn with blue Solos and tobacco-spit bottles leftover from the weekend, I couldn't help thinking how little I would want to go back to college. I actually did really like my years as an undergrad, which were mostly devoid of parties the likes of which I now see the dregs around this campus, and I do look back fondly on the experiences and friendships from those days. But dear god I don't miss it. The best days of my life. Decidedly not.

Nor do I miss my younger days, exactly. Those days of arts and crafts, playdates, and time spent outside in all weather. Those days when swimming on the first day the pool opened was more important than the blue lips and shivering bodies doing so would produce. Those days when boom boxes were lugged outside and plugged into outdoor outlets so that we could listen to “You Can Call Me All” and “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go” while chalking the driveway, making up gymnastics routines in the yard, or playing round after round after round of H-O-R-S-E.

I ought to miss them, those young, playful days. The days of water carried in Rubbermaid pitchers out to the snowpiles flanking our driveway and then poured over snow to make slippery snow chutes. The days of hot chocolate with those horrible, tiny, hard marshmallows that came right in the packet.

But I don’t. I don’t miss them because I am one of those adults who still delights in tiny hard marshmallows and splashing in the rain. I will run through sprinklers in my clothes and fingerpaint until all the colors run into one big, mixed-up mess. This is what the people who love me love and what the people who find me annoying find annoying. I accept this happily.

This weekend we “took Evan” puDaddy and Evan with Evan's pumpkinmpkin picking (I say that because he’s only three-and-a-half months old and likely had no idea where we were or what we were doing, let alone why). We drove northeast into the beautiful Ohio farmland near our home, the sun warming the car, to a U-Pick apple and pumpkin farm where we could drive into the patches and pay $5 a pumpkin regardless of the size. Evan enjoyed being turned to the world in his Baby Bjorn for the first time (instead of turned towards Brian’s chest) and lapped up every ray of sun he could – this baby is like a heat-seeking missile. But it was his parents – me and my husband – who really enjoyed the day the most.

AEvan in Daddy's Hats we parked between two wide rows of apple trees, just past the pumpkin patch, my stomach actually fluttered with excitement. I was electrified. Nearby, families posed for photos and kids piled awkwardly into minivan tailgates to ride oh-so-slowly to the next patch for more pumpkins and my heart ached with love for all of them – all of these people who were spending their gorgeous Sunday afternoons traipsing through round and crumpled, orange and red, new and newly rotted pumpkins. All of the kids who were running and tripping over the tangle of stems and stumps and all of the adults who were choosing this one, no that one, no, maybe this one.

Guys and GourdsAfter we chose our own pumpkins (a small one for Evan, a nice tall one for Brian to carve, and an awkward and somewhat slumpy one for me) and paid our $15, we made our way to a large green-and-white tent where at least fifty people were standing in lines waiting to pay for their apple and peach ciders, their homemade pies, their blackberry jam (we got a little of each ourselves). People who usually fill the grocery store aisles on Sunday afternoons were standing in dirt breathing in the smell of hay bales and waiting to hand over a fistful of dollar bills, for this farm is cash only. Kids ran from barrel to barrel looking at strange gourds and tiny pumpkins, tugging at the sleeves of parents just as enthralled by rows and rows of glass jars containing homemade goods.

It was perfect, all of it.

Strange GourdsAs we left we were drunk on hay and sunshine and Brian, watching some small kids running in the grass near the cars, looked at me and said, "Won't it be so fun when he's big enough to do that?" And I agreed. I sort of can't wait to see him trip over his own feet trying to get to the perfect pumpkin he sees.

The whole day made me realize what is probably the greatest reason for having kids: it allows those adults who don’t still play in puddles and pile graham crackers with coolwhip for an afternoon snack to recapture those careful and carefree days once more, to re-see the world through eyes they thought they’d outgrown. To re-see the world through the eyes of their children. To get excited about spending the afternoon at the pumpkin patch.

The blackberry jam is just a bonus.


Melissa October 16, 2007 at 7:14 AM  

I love the grey pumpkins juxtaposed against the orange. What a lovely photograph.

Toni October 17, 2007 at 8:01 PM  

"As we left we were drunk on hay and sunshine" - This sounds like an absolutely perfect day!