It is a good idea, it turns out, to plan the faces for your extra pumpkins while you are waiting patiently for the seeds... those endless seeds all tangled up in orange goo... to find their way out of the way of the carving knife.
I began my day having stumbled upon this lovely post over on Let's Explore. It caused me to stop and wonder about the way I would choose to take my time on this precious sunny Saturday. What agenda was I harboring? How much space did I have to follow the desires of my children? How open was I going to be to listening?
Stella and I had our first fallout of the day over Shrinky-Dinks. It was a classic breakdown between adult and young child trying to negotiate the constraints of a craft kit. In the realm of consciousness it was a battle between her lantern and my spotlight. She could see more possibilities than I could and I didn't want her to get burned on hot cookie sheet or melted plastic. She soon tired of me being so uptight and went to find someone or something to do that was more interesting.
By 9 am, we knew that it would be pumpkin patch day. It was this day or not at all, of course, this close to Halloween. 11-year-old Max, having heard that there are corn mazes around town in which you can be chased by people holding real chain saws, thought the G-rated version where we had arrived was lame. But after being convinced that visiting an actual scary maze was not something we were going to follow his lead on, he grabbed Stella's hand and they enjoyed themselves anyway.
I was really terrible with the pumpkins. Why is it that the pumpkins are all already picked, lying around in the muddy field? Why is it that they cost the same, those muddy pumpkins in the muddy field, and the clean ones in the bins at the farm stand? There was just no romance in it for me today-- the pumpkins in the mud. Stella wanted to pick one from the field and the good news, I guess, is that we let her. I do wish that having gone through all that mud, though, she would have at least had some sense of how those pumpkins actually grow. When did picking pumpkins come to mean only selecting?
She found a few she liked.
And we took them home.
The annual ritual of the carving, the seed toasting, the face-making was something we all could gather around together. It's Stella's fourth time now, and she knows how to play. Finally there was a lead she could take that we all could contentedly follow. She brought the pumpkins to life.
And I will be thinking some more tomorrow about how much I lead, how much I follow, how much I whine, and working on developing a deeper sensitivity for the moments when we are really connected and together.