Tag Archives: Loss

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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Unopened

This is a letter my dearest in the world friend gave me the last time I saw her. Four weeks ago, December 18, 2011.

unopened

There it sits. Pristine. Unopened.

I couldn’t open it the last evening we were together with our families in St. Louis because I would cry. We both knew it would be a long time before we’d see each other again. So I saved the letter to open it later.

“We’ve been here almost a month, and you’re handling this move really well,” said my husband last week. “You’re not crying.”

No, I’m adopting the Midwestern attitude. Putting my head down to forge a life on the prairie. Onward and upward. Just. Work. Harder.

If I open that letter, I’ll disintegrate.

I’ll cry big tears when I think of all that’s been lost. At the same time, in front of me stands so much that’s been gained. The gains hold the tears at bay in a bittersweet tension.

Before we moved, parents from our son’s class at school had a going away party for us. My son asked why they were having it.

“Is it a birthday party?” said my seven-year-old.

His friend, whose family was hosting the event, was with us that day. “No,” he said. “It’s a you’re-going-away-forever party.”

Female Orpheus Fountain Figure by Carl Milles as seen at Missouri Botanical Garden

I intervened. “We’re not dying. We’re only moving.”

But moving is a sort of dying. All changes are. A beloved Bible teacher of my past used to say we first experience change as loss.

We held it together, as did most of our friends, through our goodbyes. Then there was that moment the day I rushed to the groomer’s to pick up the dog.

We wanted to have Ella groomed one last time before we moved. As I paid the sweet shop owner, told her goodbye and thank you for all her years of service to us, she began to sob.

“We’re really going to miss you and Ella,” she said.

Fear shot through the muscles in my face. Confusion billowed up in my brain. Not the groomer. She just couldn’t lose it. No, no, no.

“There’s something about those terriers,” she said and boohooed some more.

“We’ll miss you too,” I said helplessly. “I don’t know how we’ll ever replace you.”

And we won’t. We’ll find another groomer. We’ll find another salon, dry cleaner, church, and circle of friends.

moving truck

Another, but not a replacement.

That’s what I tell myself to keep from opening that letter. At least for now.

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
He rescues those whose spirits are crushed. Psalm 34:18 NLT

Me, I’m a part of your Circle of friends. By Edie Brickell.

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Filed under family & friends, life