Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Saying goodbye to October

D went on his first field trip with his preschool to the pumpkin patch a couple of weeks ago. At the end, they all got to pick out a pumpkin to take home and he was beyond excited. He was mildly amused by the animals and other things at the farm, but what he really cared about were the pumpkins. And when they told him he could pick one to keep, that really made his day.

He walked amongst the rows of small pumpkins that were set aside for school groups while most of the other kids ran around and played. This was serious business, the choosing of a special pumpkin. He picked up several and eyed them before finally finding what he was looking for. What it was he saw in this particular pumpkin, I can't be sure, but it was most definitely the one.

On the way home, he decided to name it and after kicking around several names, including "Tree-monster," "Pumpkin-monster" and simply "Pumpkin" he settled on "October." "It's because this is October and October is for Halloween, Mom," he explained to me as we drove. I'm still tickled that he not only decided to name his pumpkin, but he came up with such a creative and appropriate one.

Thereafter, "October" was part of the family. We referred to the pumpkin by name, as if it were a new pet. He took it with him in the car when we ran errands and proudly showed it off to anyone around, interested or not. He'd excitedly ask anyone he saw if they had seen his pumpkin yet, and if not, happily make the introductions.

On Halloween we carved a couple of pumpkins to put out on our porch and he insisted that October be carved as well. We explained to him that this would mean October wouldn't last much longer and when he started to rot and get mushy, we'd have to throw him away. He asked "why?" a lot, but he asks that about everything, so we just explained it to him as best as we could. He was adamant - he wanted October to be a honest to goodness jack-o-lantern. And not just any jack-o-lantern - one with a "spooky-scary-mad face".

My husband obliged, after D did the honors of scooping out the "guts". D was very happy with the results and proudly displayed October on the porch for all trick-or-treaters to see.

Saturday morning he asked to bring October inside and we went ahead and lit his candle again so D could enjoy seeing his face glow a while longer. Since then, he'd been sitting on our kitchen island, right next to where D normally sits to eat his breakfast.

Today it became apparent that October's brief life would soon come to and end. The top around his stem was mushy and he was getting little black speckles inside and around the carved eyes and mouth. I was worried about how D would take it, but I also didn't want to throw him out without D knowing about it. So I showed him the spots, explaining to him again that pumpkins don't last forever and we'd need to throw him away. He thought about it for a few seconds, then declared, "Ok, I'll do it." I told him we'd need to throw him in the garbage in the garage, so he carried his pumpkin out and tossed him in the garbage can while I held the lid open.

No tears, no protests. He accepted what would happen, but he was adamant about doing it himself. There was something about his resolve that struck me today. I can't quite put my finger on it, but it was so sweet and yet a little sad.

As we came back inside from the garage I tried to dwell on the good things about October's brief stay in our family. I said, "It was fun having a cool pumpkin like October, wasn't it?" "Yeah," he replied quietly. "And remember, we have some pictures of October, so if you ever want to look at him, just let me know." "We do? We have pictures?" "Yep, do you want to go look at them?" "Yeah, Mommy. Let's go look at them...."

Bye, bye October.


Stephanie said...

he is growing up!!!!!

Mandy said...

I'm sitting here crying. That boy wrenches my heart in some pretty special ways.

I love him.