This is the story of us apple picking.
It’s also the story of how there’s nothing like parenting a small child that reminds me of my lack of control when it comes to having things go my way. Apple picking is one of those quintessential New York fall activities. I think all of us city dwellers love it, because it feels so very opposite of our day-to-day routines. What’s not to love about the idea of trading in Amazon prime deliveries so you can pick your food off a tree and pretend to live off the land for just a day?
Not to mention there’s also the added perks of beautiful scenery and delicious food like hot apple cider donuts and pumpkin cheesecake to be enjoyed. This is a recipe for good times.
So naturally, I was excited about our plan to visit Harvest Moon Farm & Orchard this past Saturday. We loaded Jameson into the car, and he could hardly contain his excitement, shouting “farm, farm!” over and over.
When we made it to the grounds, there were horses for kids to ride. And Jameson was excited to get up close to the “horsie.” That is, until he got up close to the horsie. We tried to put him on the horse, and he wasn’t having it. One of the guides offered up a cowboy hat as Jameson watched other kids take a few rides.And when a smaller horse, named Norman, came around, Jameson found the courage to get on. And he was super focused, lol. After the horse ride, Jameson had no intention of parting with Norman, so we had to quickly distract him with the idea of picking apples.
There were McIntosh apples ripe for picking, as well as bins with a variety of other apples so you could collect an assortment. Jameson was serious about holding the apple bag!Even while it was a rainy day, it was really beautiful in the orchard. And the bins of assorted apples were just as entertaining for Jameson as picking off the trees. After apple picking, we tried to introduce Jameson to the goodness of grilled corn on the cob and apple cider donuts, but he had little interest. His good temperament was quickly taking a turn for the worst, so we made a quick stop in the pumpkin patch before heading to the car.Instead of picking out a pumpkin, Jameson insisted that these giant gourds were “balloons!”And then, of course, he chucked that joint on the ground like it was nothing. Smh.
I love these photos from our day at the farm, but what these photos fail to capture is how defeated I felt in the car on the ride home.
When we made plans to go apple picking, I imagined Jameson gleefully running through rows of apple trees, excited to gnaw on an apple he had picked. I imagined him riding a horse for the first time and losing his mind with excitement. I could practically taste the donuts we would share and picture the granules of sugar left behind on his face. And I imagined us leisurely picking out pumpkins to take home and give our place the feel of fall.
What I got instead was a child who woke up not feeling his best. A child who fell asleep just before we reached the farm, which led us to drive around aimlessly for 45 minutes. A child who had to be carried, because we got caught in the crowds and parked super far from the entrance. A child who was terrified of the horse and then obsessed with the horse. A child who wanted no parts of my roasted corn or donuts. A rain storm. Frizzy hair. Runny noses. Cold hands.
Not the picture-perfect day I had in my mind at all.
And so it goes with parenting. I can have all the expectations in the world, but this little person of mine does not answer to those expectations. Nor does the weather. Nor do a number of other factors.
If nothing else, parenting is teaching me over and over the hard lesson of being able to make plans but also being ok with throwing those plans completely out the window.
To celebrate the good in a not-so-picture-perfect day — time together, family traditions, and a bounty of apples that will add sweetness to life.