Anyway, really what I wanted to share was the amusement I felt when I looked around me and just observed the people around me. I've long been a fan of people watching, but since I'm usually supervising a toddler, I miss 98% of what's going on any more than 3 feet off the ground. Yesterday I got a chance to sit at a bench and nurse the girls while Justin and Jack played on the slides and play... stuff. This place, Hunt Club Farm in Virginia Beach, was such a neat destination for families of all kinds with kids of all ages, and believe me, they were out in DROVES yesterday.
So I watched one family of 3 - Mom, Dad, daughter (4ish years) - sitting together eating lunch nearby. They were all happily chattering about the baby chickens and all 3 were eating Uncrustables with fruit snacks and Juicy Juice juice boxes out of a Disney princess lunch box. Even the dad who had to be 6'5" tall and weigh nearly 250 pounds of muscle. It was so funny to me because I knew that when we sat down for lunch, we'd open our Thomas lunch box and pull out cheese sticks and animal crackers to eat. It's just what we do. And it's automatic and unquestioning. Do I really WANT to eat animal crackers? No, no more than I'm sure Big Dude Dad wanted to eat a once-frozen round mushy peanut butter and grape disk-shaped sandwich. But that's what we do.
Later, I was pushing my stroller, aimlessly wandering waiting to find Justin and Jack post-hay-ride when I ended up behind a Mom walking hand-in-hand with her son (one of my favorite things to do, by the way) wearing her very sexy Lightning McQueen backpack as proudly as my trendy little sis carries her Coach purse to work every day. It made me smile because I know I get some ridiculous looks when I don Jack's monkey backpack on the way to school because he's tired of wearing it and insists that I put it on my own back. That Mom probably didn't think any one would notice, or if they did wouldn't judge her... that is, if she thought about it at all. And, in all honesty, she probably didn't.
Standing in the pumpkin patch watching Jack try with all his might to scoop up one very round, very too large pumpkin, another two things occurred tome. First, most kids are exactly the same when it comes to pumpkins. What child have you known that doesn't immediately go for the biggest one he can find? And second, what is it about children and pumpkins that is just so darn, irresistibly cute? I mean, you know how you associate things like jingle bells with Christmas or party blowers with New Years' parties? I now associate pumpkin patches with the sound of camera shutters clicking furiously. I mean, not that I'm innocent...
...or anything, but I saw more babies and kids propped against these magnetic orange gourds on Saturday than I think Santa's lap sees in one season. I mean, newborns swimming in their "My First Halloween" onesies leaning against carefully arranged pumpkins, faces squished in the sun... just-barely-sitting kiddos straddling short, squat pumpkins... those "I can't walk but I can stand up finally" aged kids balanced precariously amidst soon-to-be Jack 'o Lanterns galore... Even sullen 'tweens sulkily holding a pumpkin for Grandma's home-made calendar. It just cracked me up.
And I'm not laughing because I'm judging! Good lord, no! I'm laughing because I'm right there with everyone else. I'm laughing because I get it. Because 4 years ago I would just have been walking around staring at the chaos and being a little overwhelmed and wondering why on earth anyone would gag down an Uncrustable (if I even knew what that was) or have imagined that I'd be right there in the middle of it shooing roosters off the front of my 29 foot long stroller and asking my own child to please not stomp in the puddle of goat pee.
Every once in a while I am dumbfounded by the realization that there are so many people out there doing the same things I do and having the same feelings as I am and we're all just trying to get by and do the best we can with our families - with that little niche of humanity we've carved out and live in. We are so alike and it's such a vast community and yet most of us never come in contact with one another and if we did we'd always have so much to talk about that it'd be like we were old friends.
Damn. That's intense.
And all of this - all of these musings - occurred on a sunny Saturday afternoon on some local farm with Country music coupled with children's laughter as the soundtrack