We live in Buffalo, NY, and we are surrounded by so many pumpkin farms. I love weekend family fun at a pumpkin farm. My family doesn’t always want to go, but I do. I am very in touch with my inner child! I used to drag them to every pumpkin farm all over Western NY. I couldn’t leave any pumpkin farm behind. I had to make my rounds to all of them! Lillie is my fun 7-year-old who is usually up for anything fun. Ella is ten years old and likes a lot of down time at home. Max is 12 going on 13 very soon and isn’t always in agreement with the plans I make for my family.

The Fall weekends are going by quickly and I am twitching that I have not taken my family to a pumpkin farm. I complain to my husband about the kid’s activities infringing on my family plans for the weekend. Seth uses his excellent problem-solving skills to figure out that we can squeeze in a visit to the pumpkin farm at 4:00 after we pick up Max. It doesn’t close until 7:00. Three hours is plenty of time. Ready, set, go! We have to look for windows of opportunities sometimes to fit in family fun, but we make it work.

We pick up Max and I am pleasantly surprised that he doesn’t throw a fit that we are headed to the Great Pumpkin Farm. There are farms all over. There is Stokoe Farms, Becker Farms, Akron Acres, Kelkenberg Farms and the list goes on. Most of them are a hike so we head to the closest one due to the time restriction. I am usually trying to fit something into my life with three busy children. I know that pumpkin farm season has ended, but if you haven’t driven the hour to Stokoe farms, make a mental note to try it next year.

My family is cringing at the lines that they see as we pull up. I see pumpkins and family fun and Seth, Max and Ella see people everywhere. It’s amazing how different people’s perception of the same thing can be. Max starts complaining and I start to wonder where he came from. He has two parents who really work to be positive. How did Seth and I create this? Is he a reaction against us? I hear that you either copy your parents or react against them and become the opposite. I certainly don’t want to create a negative kid. In my natural mothering way, I begin lecturing Max about his need to be more positive.

Ella and Lillie begin doing all the slides with a ton of other children and Seth, Max and I take stations to watch them. With people everywhere I am keeping my eyes closely on my children. I never understood the parents who don’t scare their children about strangers. Stranger danger is what I teach them.

We do a hay maze, a corn maze, and I drag Max to the jumping pillow for Ella and Lillie. When did he get so old that he doesn’t want to do the jumping pillow? I tear up and wonder where the time has gone. Max grew a lot this summer and I am still having trouble processing how old he looks. The Great Pumpkin Farm in particular has a special place in my heart. I have vivid memories of the first pictures that Seth and I took with Max at this farm.

They fling some apples, get some baked goods, take some traditional pictures, and they all look at me to see if I have had enough time at the Pumpkin farm. They all want to leave. My family humored me and got me to a farm. I would have gone for a hayride and let them do some rides, but I know that my family is checking out. I need to know when to end the family fun.

My family is hungry for dinner and the food trucks are not taking credit cards! Are you kidding me? In 2019, you need to take credit cards. I am one of those people who never has cash on me. I rely on my husband to have the goods and he didn’t come prepared either. If you sell anything, my advice to you is to be able to take credit cards. I only know one mother among all my friends who always has cash on her and it’s because she is a hairdresser. The rest of us moms never have cash.

You’ve survived the pumpkin farm with my family and I. I had a great time. I could have gone back again and again. My friend posted pictures of visiting this farm several times. She is my type of lady. Maybe the moms need pumpkin farm dates without the children. I did see cocktails at this farm.   Moms and pumpkins and cocktails sound fabulous to me.

I told my family how much I love Stokoe farms. My husband rolled his eyes at me and said he just took us to a pumpkin farm. I told Seth that our friends were going to a corn maze the following weekend and he asked, “didn’t we just do that?” I wanted to squeeze in Becker farms with our friends before Lillie’s birthday party. How did I think I was doing Hebrew School, Becker Farms and Lillie’s birthday party? I tend to be an overachiever.

Maybe I have gotten tired. Maybe I don’t have the energy to fight. Maybe the kid’s activities keep me too busy. Maybe I have just become older and wiser. I used to drag my family every weekend to a different pumpkin farm and spend a fortune. This Fall we made one trip to a pumpkin farm. At first, I asked myself how I messed this Fall up and then I started thinking about this differently. Maybe I didn’t mess up. Maybe I have done it right this year.

As a parent, you are always learning and growing with your children. I learn a lot every day. One of my biggest parenting lessons is that I don’t have to take my children to DO everything. I don’t have to go to every Halloween event. I don’t have to go to every Pumpkin Farm. If you know me well, don’t fall over when you read this. I mean what I am saying. I forgot to take my kids to Trunk or Treat at the high school. I forgot to take my kids to the Heritage Village to trick or treat. I forgot to take my kids to the mall to trick or treat.  These are activities that we have been doing every year. I went to ONE pumpkin farm ONE time. I did bring my family apple picking. I did bake four apple pies and an apple crisp. I did plenty. I don’t have to do it all. How many times do my children need to go trick or treating? Lillie wasn’t happy with me for all the Trick or Treating that she missed. As Seth said to me, “they only need to trick or treat once. They don’t need all that candy.” I agree with Seth. I also know that as much as Ella and I had a great time trick or treating, Lillie did not. Lillie did not enjoy the pouring rain and wind. Lillie would have had a much better time in the mall. It’s ok. I’m congratulating myself for my new attitude. I am going to take this new attitude into the holidays. I hope you will join me.

I used to feel like I needed to buy my kids a ton of presents. I used to walk into the stores and go crazy. My 7 year-old is so much fun to shop for. The older two are getting harder to shop for. I tried to convince my spoiled children that a trip could be their Chanukah present, but they weren’t having it. With eight nights of Chanukah, they think it is so much fun to open a present every night of Chanukah. I don’t know that I can agree to those terms this year.

Less pumpkin farms, less presents, less is more! I am not sure if I am getting tired or smarter. I like to think that I am getting smarter!

Laughing, Learning, Loving,

Rebecca Greene, LCSW-R