My Staring Contest With Time

At Anderson Farms – October 2003

We don’t have many family traditions. With our families so close by, we usually spend the holidays jumping from house to house to join someone else’s tradition (and the months before the holidays bickering over which family gets which holiday and who had it last year). We haven’t had much opportunity to establish our own family traditions for our family of four. At first, when the boys were young, I really didn’t care. Now that the precious years when they believe in Santa are over, I’m starting to wish we had some things in place.

One tradition we have managed to establish is our annual trip to Anderson Farms to trek through the corn maze and pick our pumpkins. We have done this every year since Joe was born, so this will be our 11th consecutive trip there. That first year, Joe was all of four months old. I’ll never forget that day. It was warm, and we had Joe in the Baby Bjorn as we trekked through the corn. We had to stop at one point and change his diaper in the middle of the maze. When we’d walked as far as we could go, we set him into a decorative wheelbarrow full of pumpkins and snapped some photos. He was chubby and bald headed then. If he’d been orange, he would have blended right in with the other smooth, round, orange things.ย  We’ve been there when it’s been 80 degrees and we’ve been there when we’ve been out in the pumpkin patch as it began snowing. We’ve gone with friends and family, and we’ve gone through it just the four of us. One year it was ridiculously muddy after a significant rain and Joe slipped and fell into an enormous mud puddle, much to my dismay since I was hoping to capture a decent family photo. At least it was memorable. Last year we rushed through the maze in advance of a windstorm and were nearly blown back to our car and had to cut the visit short.

In the giant cornucopia in 2011

It’s not an inexpensive day. We’ve never gotten out of there for under $80 (including admission, lunch, and pumpkins), but it’s so worth it. Some things you do regardless of the cost because they mean that much. This is one of those things. So, this Saturday we’ll be up with the roosters. We’ll hit Starbucks and head to Anderson Farms by its 9 a.m. opening time. Looks like good weather, so we should be peeling off layers as we warm up during our maze hike. Our goal this year is to get all the punches on the maze punch card. We haven’t been able to accomplish that feat with the boys yet, but I have a feeling this is our year.

As the boys get older, these trips are the things I treasure most. I can look back through photos and watch the cornstalks appear to grow shorter as our boys grow taller. It’s magic. Now we just need to establish a couple other family traditions so we can have them in place for a few years before the boys move out. When you have young children, people always tell you to “enjoy it while you can because it will be gone before you know it.” That saying is so irksome at the point when you’re exhausted and up to your elbows in diaper cream and baby wipes and can’t wait to move to the next phase. Sadly, though, it is true. Mine are only 9 and 11, and it breaks my heart when I think of how true it is. Your time with your children passes in the blink of an eye. The trick is not to blink. And so I begin my staring contest with time.

5 comments

  1. Love this one, Justine! It reminds me of the like ONLY tradition we seem to have in place…which is also a Pumpkin Farm…which we will also be visiting on Saturday. We started going there when Jax was 9 months old and we have gone every year. But I totally agree with you about wanting to have some long standing traditions and it’s been hard to do that because we are also bouncing back and forth to this family and that family all the time.
    Tears welled up in my eyes reading this. They really do grow up so fast! And you are right…it’s almost borderline annoying to hear “enjoy your time” when you are so freaking exhausted from all the motherly duties. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. I always wonder how we’ll be able to make new traditions when we are so busy shuffling between Ohio and Connecticut to visit our families (we’re in Pennsylvania). It’s definitely hard to do!

    1. It is. I keep trying to remind myself that most of my memories of family traditions are from when I was over 9 years old. So, I don’t think we’re hopeless yet. There’s still time. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. ๐Ÿ™‚ This is one of our few traditions, too. We’ll also be visiting on Saturday. We’ll all be together in different states! I was weeping reading this one, too. It’s the natural order of things but it doesn’t make it any less difficult. t love the idea of a staring contest with time.

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