By Jaimi Erickson
I still see the ghost of the toddler whose smile was so wide, running through the pumpkin patch. Bright orange adorning the field and sweatshirt weather are two of my favorite things in fall. Now the pictures of friends with their little ones’ big smiles holding their chosen fall pumpkins bring back that joy I felt seeing the same scene when my children were younger.
My children are the older kids now, so many of the typical fall activities are less appealing than they used to be. They do not need to have their picture taken in the scarecrow cut-out board. They are not begging me daily to go pick out pumpkins. Making fall memories as the children get older makes me feel grateful for the ghosts of past Octobers.
From pumpkin patches to hayrides, every fall presents an array of fun events and activities to try as a family. When I see the beautiful orange orbs piled up, I remember my little ones. Looking into their faces, seeing how they are each growing up, it makes me grateful that we had so many fun fall adventures.
I am not sad about it, though, it is a bit eerie how fast the time has flown. Where I once was sewing costumes for my kids, I now hear them asking if they can trick-or-treat dressed as characters from the zombie apocalypse or Stranger Things.
My teenager has already graduated from carrying a treat bag house-to-house. Now, he strolls the neighborhood with us just to take in the sights. Time shifts everything in parenthood.
Now we are experiencing the shift of our children growing up and it is not bad at all. There is no more rush and hustle to get the kids dressed. The preparation and planning to make sure we have each costume complete is now taken over by each of them. Things are simpler now.
These days, we can enjoy October movies together. And as we’re smooshed together on the couch, we can all appreciate the experiences that October provides.
As the kids grow, more of the fall season becomes a shared experience. Older kids become more aware of the details. We can walk a trail and admire the leaves. We can decorate the house together as a family. There is less stress for me and more family awareness of all that goes into making a season a celebration. It is cozy and comforting. It is a new kind of October.
The toddler smiles still shine through the big kids’ faces. The nostalgic glimpses of memories from so many past Octobers are not forgotten. I see it. It was great when they were little. But this new season is so great, too.