I recently traveled through Northeastern Georgia as we headed to the mountains of North Carolina. We have the privilege of enjoying the autumn in the tranquil and beautiful land between the Smoky Mountains and the Blue Ridge Parkway. Enjoying the burst of color in the month of October leaves one in awe of the beauty of creation.
While heading to our final destination we spotted a Fruit Stand – Corn Maze – Hayride – Bakery – Ice Cream Store and Pumpkin Patch. Yes, these were all there in one location. With fare like this we had to stop and see which of these we couldn’t live without. Parking in an absolutely full parking lot, alongside another load of pumpkins being delivered from the fields behind, I set off to tour the place.
I picked through the produce and drooled over the baked items that were in complete dietetic conflict with the fresh vegetables that I had in my cart. These items were just as important as the healthy fare, so of course I headed toward the not-to-be-resisted bakery section. I walked by a table of four, little eight- to nine-year-old girls. They were sitting with their hot apple cider and fried apple pies (yes fried, it is the south you know), chattering about the fun they just had in the corn maze. They were laughing and teasing each other about exactly how lost they had become. They were voting on which girl was the most directionally challenged in the world of mazes. Their mothers pulled up with shopping carts at this indoor-outdoor stand, excited about the fresh apples they were buying to take home and eat.
Watching this group warmed my heart. I mean, how great is it to head out from home on a Saturday morning with friends or family and spend $5.00 to get lost in a cornfield for two hours? There is much to relish in while enjoying the great outdoors in Northern Georgia and leaving behind the scurry of normal lives, technology, and demands. Then to end your day with hot apple cider and the best fried-pie you’ve ever eaten? I’m sure after this exciting day those girls slept soundly with fresh air in their lungs and peaceful dreams in their imaginations.
Watching this group warmed my heart.
It’s these times in life that create the great memories that will be with us when our daughters or sons leave home to go to college, get a job, pay the rent of their first place, or begin a family of their own. It’s not the hustle of homework, computers, carpooling, or frantic life that stays in your or your children’s hearts. But the special times, when we step away from life, that’s what endures.
So you may not be near a corn maze or a great fruit stand, but I have to encourage you to find your own life step-away. What about a frisbee in the park, a creekside picnic, a bicycle ride, or backyard tent to create a memory? If you can’t get away from home, pull out a pile of newspapers, magazines, feathers, fabric scraps—whatever you have—along with glue, scissors, and poster board and create. Make a collage with your daughter. Let her choose her favorite things in life to cut out and display. Or just take all of the stuff and make your very own “art.”
Now that my daughters are grown, those are the days we treasure. Those are the memories that last. There’s also another great by-product: those times together serve to give a wonderful balance to the days when you inevitably have to say, “Hurry up! Homework done yet? Get off the computer. No, you can’t go out tonight. Turn down the stereo,” or whatever the life stress may be. When those stressful days come, the relationship built through the special times makes the tensions a little less and the frustration a bit shorter. And remember, those great memories will last a lifetime.