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Enjoying the Ride; The Uncarved Pumpkin

Halloween was a couple of days ago, and at our house it meant the end of another long-standing tradition -- pumpkin carving. For years, we got out the newspaper, the knifes and other carving tools, but with the girls off on their own, the boys really had not interest in decapitating the pumpkin to pull out the seeds and stringy slimey insides. Was I upset by it? Hmmm…no not really. We are just entering another phase of life.

In deference to Charlie Brown, “The Great Pumpkin” had his last showing, along with the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy (guess that isn’t a holiday). No more school Valentines Day cards, and now Halloween pumpkins. Let me be clear, we did enjoy the candy portion of it; after all, it is the one time of year that I can eat lots of pumpkin-shaped Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

I have tons of fond memories of those holiday traditions while the kids were growing up, and even though things change as they age, the memories are vivid to this day and make me smile.

I fondly remember years past when all the four kids gathered round the table and four equally uniquely shaped pumpkins that they had picked, ready to be turned into a carving masterpiece. Each year, I picked out the pumpkin seed goop in the middle of the table and pretended like I was going to drop it on their heads, and in turn they would scream and run around the house.

I also remember, that once the novelty of the idea wore off, and the kids got tired of waiting for me to cut four pumpkin mouths with teeth in tact, I ended up at the kitchen table by myself. Their interest has waned while I continued to finish the master piece carving and reminisced about my own dad installing strobe lights in my pumpkin when I was younger, and how we used toothpicks to hold the ears in place. (My wife never got that. She said her pumpkins did not have ears when she was growing up.)

There are other traditions that our now teens are lukewarm to, but used to delight in when they were younger. I remember going on Easter egg hunts with the kids on that Sunday morning before heading off to church, and counting the eggs they found to make sure there were no hidden treasures behind the couch months later. After church and family pictures, we searched for the Easter Bunny baskets that he hid all over the house.

As an only child, I remember the Easter Bunny being very generous, with multiple baskets, some filled with chocolate bunnies, some Easter eggs and of course some with Matchbox or Hot Wheels toy cars which were my favorite.

Christmas is another time when young ones go to bed with visions in their heads and were up at the crack of dawn to see what was under the tree. Well, maybe that one has not yet changed, despite now parenting teenagers and young adults. We have always told the kids that you have to believe in order for Santa to deliver, and well, they have.

All this reminiscing does make me nostalgic, and I am so thankful for all those memories I hold onto in my head and for all the photos we can flip through. Memories are those priceless things that mean so much more than any gift or present.

As our kids continue to grow, and some day may begin to have their own families – AND I AM OK WAITING A WHLE ON THAT - I will enjoy bringing all these traditions back again and reliving them through the eyes of the next generation. I look forward to telling the grandkids about the traditions and things their moms and dads did when they were younger. It is like riding a bike, it will come back to me, and that is why I am ok that this year, the pumpkins stayed in tact, and I did not have to carve alone or listen to my wife laugh at me, when I got out the toothpicks to give the pumpkin some ears.

With every phase, there is an end and a new beginning, and right now I am enjoying the ride.

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