There is something grounding about tradition. Most of the year, we invest so much of our time and energy ensuring that the children grow and learn. Filling their bellies and minds to set them up for when they finally fledge. In between, there are family traditions acting like lynch pins that keeps us …as us. Rooted.
Pumpkin carving is one such tradition. Each year, we head over to my parents and pick up pumpkins. Even if we have grown our own, we still go and pick up more. One for each of the children. There is no logic to it. It is a tradition.
Each year, I persuade the youngest that he doesn’t need a pumpkin that is almost as big as him. Each year, he tries to persuade me that he does. It is all part of the tradition.
We pick up an extra pumpkin and the children carve it for their grandparents while we visit them. I suspect, after we leave, they move it to their doorstep. I like to think the milkman looks forward each year to seeing our contribution to the seasonal celebration. Giving him a spring in his step as he continues on with his deliveries. Adding to the tradition.
Each year that passes, the children gradually take over more and more of the carving. I remember one evening, thirteen years ago, being 9 months pregnant, frantically scooping out the pumpkin, while talking to a friend on the phone. Hoping that the baby wouldn’t decide to arrive before I’d finished the pumpkin. Carving fell to me alone, in those days.
This year, the table has completely turned. I have been the taxi to the pumpkin farm (and the person who paid over the money), while the children have done the rest. Although they did let me carve the face of the pumpkin we left for my parents.
Once home they took care of their own pumpkins all by themselves. I’m looking forward to putting candles in the now empty shells. The seeds will be roasted and the flesh is waiting to be made into soup. Just like usual.
I have already made the pumpkin pie, which most of the family liked. Confirming that this will be added to the traditions assigned to this part of the year. We’ve cooked, baked and made all manner of seasonal wonderfulness, as we always do.
Other parts of the week may have gone awry (hits head against the table silently), but traditions cannot be neglected. They bond us as a family. Marking the year as it flows along. The children grow, but perish the thought that we should skip something that we do each and every year.
(Boo! ghost biscuits)
I wonder if, years to come, it will be our milkman happening upon the lone pumpkin head on our doorstep, left by grandchildren? We’ll just have to wait and see.
My word of the week: tradition.