Monday, October 24, 2016

Our Lil' Pumpkin King

Every year, since Scarlett's first Halloween, we have made a trip to Dunnellon in Florida to the Pickin' Patch. This is a great place to take your family and enjoy some fall festivities. They have live pumpkins on the vine that you can cut yourself to take home and decorate. They also have a hayride, hay slides for kids, a corn maze, a sunflower field, and all kinds of good fun for the family. They have it set up beautifully for photo opportunities as well. I always make sure to take advantage of the scenery to get snaps of the kids.

It is priced so affordably that it is more than worth the trip. Anyone three and up is $3.00 and the pumpkins range from $4.00 to $30.00 plus. They have ornamental pumpkins, jack-o-lantern pumpkins, sunflowers, white pumpkins (which are BEAUTIFUL), and they also sell gourds. There are rows upon rows of pumpkins! The kids love it!

It's become a tradition for our family.

This year would have been John's first trip. He was so tiny and new last year that there was no way he could have gone, but this year...he would have been walking and us a go for our money! It was overwhelmingly heartbreaking when we decided to go this year because we wouldn't get to take him. I have dubbed him Our Lil' Pumpkin King.

Preparing for a day trip like this with my kids is a challenge (Every mom just nodded.), so yesterday as I was getting things gathered, I dug up my camera. As I was scrolling through pictures, I found images of the day John was born. Laid out in all his naked glory, red face from screaming! How I cried...cry now thinking of his fat little self. As I sat there an idea popped into my head. What if we took some pictures of John with us to the pumpkin patch, and took pictures of him doing all the things he missed. Then my dear friend anxiety stopped me in my tracts! What if his Mommy doesn't like that idea?!

I have been very raw and honest in my blogs, but I also withhold a lot out of respect for my sister's privacy. Everything I do, I run by her, so I did the same with the picture idea. She loved it, told me she wanted the prints.

So load up, and away we go!

When we arrived we grabbed a wagon. They have tons of wagons there for customers to use. My first thought was John's little chunky butt should be sitting in the wagon with Evan. It was hard. His little ghost is everywhere. So I decided to take a picture of John riding in the wagon. It just isn't the same, but it was so profound to us nonetheless.

As we made our way through the ornamental pumpkins, I snapped a couple of pictures of Scarlett and Evan sitting on these big crazy things, and decided to snap some of them holding John's picture. I can't explain that empty chest feeling that consumes your heart. That's what we got. Pictures of pictures.

As we made our way through the patch I took countless pictures. Each time we stopped it took a few minutes, and it seemed we tied up the photo op areas more than anyone...but it's like people knew. They didn't ask. They didn't rush us, and they never got impatient. I suppose if you see a family taking pictures of a picture of a baby, it's safe to assume it's because he is not with them anymore.

Scarlett and Evan were thrilled to include John in our day. They both loved him so much.

At times, I caught Mommy standing off in the near distance with that far away something is missing look. I felt so guilty. Watching my babies run and play. Getting to love and hug on them all day. While she gets pictures of pictures. Never once has she given me reason to feel this way, I just do. It's something I will have to learn how to deal with. And even though her heart probably weighed a million pounds yesterday, she loved on the kids and enjoyed a beautiful fall day with us.

Missing John just doesn't describe the pain we feel. Virginia described it as an ache in her arms, sometimes physical, and most definitely internal. That accurately sums it up. Our arms are as empty as our hearts, yet we made it through another day. We made another great and happy memory, even through the pain, and John was with us even if not in person.


1 comment:

  1. This was beautiful and heartbreaking all at once. :-(