You know how every once and awhile you have a moment in which you look around and really see things? Whether it’s how much you love your family, or how remarkable your spouse is, or how much you adore your girlfriends, or how well you really do your job? I had one of those yesterday. We were at an apple orchard/pumpkin patch, it was 65 degrees, sunny, and breezy. I was standing on top of a hill that overlooked a park, hay rides, fields of pumpkins, orchards filled with apple trees, and about 20 feet in front of me sat a large group of my friends. Some of whom I’ve known since I was 12. Others since I was 18. And others yet since I was 28 and 34. They were all looking down at our kids who were playing together in the park.
As I looked down I thought ‘this. Is. Special.’
We’ve been going to the pumpkin patch since 2001. When we first started we would grab pumpkins and apple donuts and then head back to Eh’s house to carve pumpkins, watch scary movies, and drink. Now we bring our kids and they get their little faces painted, play with one another, and we all eat apple donuts…often times far too many (cough…cough…like yesterday…cough). Our kids know each other. Care about each other. Our kids know all of us and they know that we are long-time friends.
Since 2010, on the Saturday after Thanksgiving each year, this same group of people heads to a tree farm to cut down Christmas trees, buy ornaments, have apple cider, and…huh…it occurs to me that we eat donuts there too. We then return to our house, each car with a freshly cut tree tied to the top, for pizza and the kids run around our house like it’s a playground.
I’ve said before (over and over and over) that we work really hard to provide a stable and consistent environment for our little girls. As I enjoyed my friends and watched my girls carrying around my girlfriend’s kids, or sword fighting with them, and as I watched my husband wrestling with my friends’ kids, I realized how very important it is for these things to continue to happen. For several reasons. A for one, I want them to see good, strong, long-lasting friendships first-hand. I want them to understand how important friendships are both for me and for my husband. B for two, I want them to be surrounded by adults that care about THEM as well as THEIR PARENTS. C for three, I want them to know and care about the children of my friends. D for four, I want them to feel surrounded by people who love them, care about their well-being, and see them regularly. People who aren’t relatives. E for five, having traditions like this offers standing appointments with joy. They always know where we will get pumpkins and that it will involve friends and apple donuts. They always know what we will be doing that first Saturday after Thanksgiving (and that it will involve donuts). And I don’t know, but especially for girls who split their time between two homes and two families, I feel like concrete traditions and knowledge that they are loved by a small community is so incredibly important.
Last night my husband commented on how great our day was. And that we have to keep doing things like this. Today I’ve been thinking of other traditions we could establish so they have even more things to look forward to and even more exposure to these amazing people and their amazing families. Easter egg hunts? Christmas cookie parties? Something philanthropic? I’m just so grateful that I have the opportunity to participate in these things myself, let alone with my husband and little girls.
TODAY: What if we continue to provide standing appointments with joy for our little girls?