Pumpkin Patch Peril

Last week my son had a day off school, so we trekked 25 miles to meet some of his school mates at Walter’s Pumpkin Patch.

pumpkin arrangement

pumpkin arrangement

This is the first fall in my son’s life we won’t be pumpkin and apple picking at America’s largest, family-owned, pick-your-own orchard, Eckert’s in Belleville, Illinois. We’re mourning the loss of Pumpkin Jamboree weekends and phenomenal fried chicken. But this year Eckert’s is 458.78 miles away.

Yes, I MapQuested it.

corn maze exit

maze exit

Walter’s isn’t the same as Eckert’s, but it’s still a blast. We were there on a weekday, so we had the place to ourselves including paddle boats, underground slides, an in-ground trampoline, corn maze, people-sized hamster wheel, giant seesaw, tree houses, and of course pumpkin picking.

Now my son has never struggled with separation anxiety. From the moment I dropped him off at nursery school, he’s not been one to look back. There are places to go, things to do, people to see. Mom? Mom who?

Walter’s was no different. He jumped head first into the activities, oblivious to my whereabouts. After lunch, he took off with his friends on their next adventure, leaving me in the dust.

I walked over to the country store to to chat up the owner. Turns out she knows the Eckert’s people. We discussed the finer points of Walter’s transformation into a destination farm.

As I strolled out of the store, I saw a small, lonely figure standing a block away from me on the driveway. Was that my child? Was he crying?

“What’s the matter?” I said as I got to him and held him. “Are you okay?”

“I couldn’t find you,” he said. “I thought you left me at the pumpkin patch!”

“Oh, no,” I said, “Mommy will never leave you.”

It was a promise I couldn’t keep, and I knew it the second the words came out.

“Mommy will never leave you at the pumpkin patch,” I said as if that clarification somehow helped.

Life is full of changes and loss. There will come a day when I will leave him—not by choice, never by choice. Death comes at the most inconvenient times.

Or he may leave me first. I pray not by death, but by growing up. His father and I are raising him with the goal that one day he’ll be independent of us. However, I can’t promise I won’t follow him if he moves away. Don’t you want me to be your daughter’s mother-in-law now?

We dried the tears and talked about how we both needed to tell each other where we were going to be, especially in strange, new places.

The school counselor’s words often haunt me, sloshing big buckets of guilt: “Moving is one of the top five most traumatic experiences for a child.”

Oh, Lord, what have we done.

“I miss Eckert’s,” said my son. So do I, baby. So do I.

pumpkin arrangement

pumpkins on porch

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV

Brand new from an album due to release in January 2013, please listen to Need You Now by Plumb.

How do you deal with loss? How do you help your children deal with it?


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10 Responses to Pumpkin Patch Peril

  1. “as if that clarification somehow helped”

    it will do fine, until you bend over to pick up a sock at the laundromat, and are temporarily out of view. but, that can wait.


    it was a fun read.

  2. That was a sweet story. It was touching to read your thought process as you clarified your answer about never leaving your son. It sounds like you have found a wonderful new pumpkin patch. In a few years, it may feel like your ‘home’ patch.

  3. Super Ging

    Aimee…any future daughter-in-law would be crazy not to fall head over heels for the entire family.

  4. Diana Byrd

    A great epistle, Aimee – keep up the phenomenal work to which God has called you!

  5. So wisely written, Aimee. Thank you. After the sudden death of a dear 39-yr.-old wife and mom (of 2 daughters 10 and 4) who attends our church, we are discussing loss and death quite a bit at our house. “Mom, if God knew that this was going to happen, why didn’t He stop it? Why did He let her die?” Tessa, my almost 9-yr.-old, asked as I was crying while washing her hair, thinking of the girls. “We can’t know God’s plans, or why sad and tragic things happen when they do. But God can use any situation to bring about good. In this case, there will be other people who will experience extended life, better health or sight, because of Mrs. Cindy’s death. And maybe some others will come to know Jesus because of this. Does that help her family feel better today? Maybe not… but hopefully someday. Will they miss her forever? Yes. But she will be there to greet them in heaven one day, because she knew and loved Jesus. For now, we pray for them, we love them, we help them, and we pray they draw closer to God to find comfort and strength.” Thanks for the link to that powerful song… it’s perfect for this post.

    • Aimee

      You are one wise momma to have the presence of mind to speak that, Candace. Tessa and Seth (and Kent) are blessed to have you! And I agree about the song. It is very powerful. Will be keeping Cindy’s family and the Lawndale family in prayer. We miss you all <3