Woo-HOOOO!!! We're going to pick apples! Ella was ready to go. She loves picking apples and we've already gone a few times this year. Our fridge can barely close there are so many apples in it. We went this past weekend on a warm, but windy fall day. I love picking apples. It seems like just yesterday we were picking apples with two four-year-olds and a tiny toddler named Andi who had just barely stepped out of babyhood and into toddlerhood. Now she is on the cusp of planning for preschool and the twins are relishing in their new experiences and friends. They LOVE kindergarten and weekends can't go by quickly enough.
I love pictures of children picking apples. I think it's the green of the leaves, the color of a fruit I think I could live off of, and the way the sun illuminates the kids who are already smiling after they twist-twist-pull their treasure off the tree and deposit it into the basket.
I also loved just surrendering to the moment as they played on the hay pile. Around me I could hear mothers and fathers urgent voices commanding children to "look at me!", "smile!," or "Sit still! This is our Christmas picture!" At one point I just started laughing out loud -- as I could completely identify with their desire to catch that "perfect" moment that is so elusive to being caught when you are dealing with impulsive, emotional little creatures that we call our children.
"Why are you laughing, mommy?" Sophia asked as she bounded down the hay pile. I had told her nothing, and then I sat and just started clicking pictures, trusting that I would catch the "perfect" moment. It would happen when it needed to and in a way that I could not plan for. In letting go, I realized that I enjoyed that moment more than I usually do. I'm usually trying hard to control, direct, and manage the situation. My stress level is too high these days as evidenced by chest pains. In talking with 3 other mom-friends, they are all experiencing chest-pains, too. This life-stage -- raising small children -- is a tough one, but even so, as we left the apple orchard and began pulling out of the gravel parking lot, my eyes felt a bit hot, my throat started to form a lump, and grief came over me that made me want to hoard the moment, afraid to let go despite knowing that there will be other great moments with our children as they grow, "This is it. The last time we go to an apple orchard with two five-year-olds and a two-year-old."
Dave didn't get the sentimentality of the moment for me....which is fine....It was a bit unexpected. I just don't want to forget, or get so caught up in the stress of raising tiny children that I forget to see the joy. I'm afraid that someday I'll be 70, sitting in a quiet home, bored to tears and wish I would have just let. go. and enjoyed more...savored more. This time with our children is so short, so sweet. Seeing how fast they've grown only makes me aware that the next years of raising them is going to be over in the blink of an eye...
And so I hoard the moments like these. When we are at the orchard, smiling, laughing, and letting go.