I Don’t Know Jack…

Pumpkins…or once they’re carved jack o’ lanterns, are synonymous with October and Halloween.

One of my very favorite October traditions is watching  It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown  on tv. It’s pretty much considered vintage tv viewing at this point, but like all classics, it’s timeless and so relatable.

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The great thing about this particular Peanuts cartoon is the introduction of the Great Pumpkin as the figurehead of Halloween! After-all, Santa has Christmas, and the Easter Bunny has Easter. Charles Schultz in a genius move simply gave Halloween its own holiday character—even if Linus van Pelt is the only believer.

Year after year, faithful Linus sits in the pumpkin patch on Halloween night, missing out on trick or treats waiting for the Great Pumpkin to appear. Sadly, he never does. Discouraged but undaunted, Linus vows to wait again next year, certain that the Great Pumpkin will eventually make an appearance if he is steadfast.

img_6860 Depending upon your viewpoint, Linus can seem like either a foolish optimist, or tenacious in his ability to not only believe…but also encourage others to join him in the pumpkin patch.

It’s just Snoopy…

At the end of the day he stands alone.

In his solitude, Linus knows he’s not the norm—but he’s okay with that.

He follows his heart every time, not the crowd.

This story has a happily-ever-after because some good has come out of that pumpkin patch. Linus has turned me (and I’m pretty sure there are others) into a stone-cold believer. No doubt one of these days the Great Pumpkin will make an appearance, and Linus will be vindicated.


I’d like to think I’m the kind of person who would join him in that pumpkin patch and keep watchful vigil. 


Unless it meant missing out on treats of course.

Realistically, I’m the kind of person who confiscates all the good chocolate.



Belief is one thing, treats are another
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Giant benevolent jack o’ lantern? Schmak o’ lantern!

Just goes to show, even after all these years when it comes to the Great Pumpkin?

I  don’t  know  jack


“There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people:

religion, politics, and the Great Pumpkin.”  🎃

~Linus van Pelt 

The School Zone…

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Three magical little words everyone loves to hear…Back to School. By the end of summer, all the games are played out, the activities exhausted, vacation no longer feels like vacation, and kids (and parents) are gettin’ antsy. It’s a Catch 22 kind of time.

It’s not that it hasn’t been great fun to have them home…it’s wonderful and eagerly anticipated. It’s just that by summer’s end we are ready to renew, recharge, and regroup.  Order in the house! Back to the old routine synonymous with the school year.

We all know the drill.

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Every school years end, once the final school bell rang, schedules went right out the window for our family. Summers at our house were lazy daisy. Finally! Free time for art, hobbies, books, activities, road trips, and lots of of R and R.

Oh what do you do in the summertime? Well as the temps soared, we did late night runs to Sonic, stayed up all hours watching movies, or just hung out together doing nothing at all. The pressure was off for nearly three precious months.  Then, as September loomed large in the distance, not only back to schoolmore like back to reality!
And, just like that, you’re back in the School Zone.

 UNTIL SUDDENLY ONE DAY…YOU’RE NOT…

Sadly, there’s no reality more harsh than realizing that your life season has changed as well. As much as you complained, there will be no more shopping for school clothes. No more scouring the stores for school supplies-poring over insanely detailed lists-(in my case times four). Gone-the anticipation of heading over to the school the minute class lists are posted to search out my kids names, and then names of friends and neighbors.

 Book covers, labels, and memorizing combination locks-all history.  image

No more stomach-lurching anxiety the morning of the first day of school. Drop-offs and secret sad tears…(yup-mine…camouflaged behind dark sunglasses). Then the long lonely hours till afternoon pick-up, and stories shared of first-day-back adventures. A small glimpse into what would become their world for an entire school year. What a privilege-but all in the past now.

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Teacher: “Wah wah, wah wah wah wah.”

Years of navigation-in more ways than one. I spent years chauffeuring kids to school. Sometimes four different schools. Sometimes four different times.  And sometimes carpool with additional kids.
Time spent navigating different schools and teachers. Lobbying for longer/more recesses for busy minds and bodies. Years volunteering in one capacity or another. Years of showing up. Years of waiting. (In typical Kim-fashion, I kept a book in the car at the ready, and turned downtime into some ME time.) Every day I was blessed and glad to greet them and hear about their ups and downs.

The dailies are important.

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The other day I was at Target and the  person behind me was unloading a cartload of school supplies. Taking note of my no more pencils, no more books status, the sales clerk asked me if I was ready for back to school. I started to automatically respond, “No, my kids are grown, and I don’t miss those days one bit,” but even as the thought flitted briefly across my mind, I knew it wasn’t true. I responded honestly, “My kids are all grown. How I miss those days!”image

I am out of the School Zone, and it all happened in a blink. Turns out, while they were in school, I was busy getting an education! I learned so much. My best lessons have been as a mother. Sometimes I was a teacher, counselor, or cheerleader; and other-times I was the one who needed a coach. image
Luckily, no one grades you, (openly anyway), and you don’t ever graduate from being a mom. It’s kind of like tenure. By default it’s assumed that by now I have attained a certain level of knowledge. And boy, have I!  Quite a noteworthy education in fact. Some things you just can’t learn from books. What they don’t tell you is, that you can cram all you want…but as far as parenthood goes? You’re never gonna be done gettin’ schooled.

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Think Small

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I recently passed what I consider to be a milestone birthday. You know the kind…where both numbers match; 11, 22, 33, 44…etc? You only get a very few of those in a lifetime. 

Suffice it to say, I’m now officially “etc.” years old. 😂 Because I was not looking forward to this particular birthday, I decided early on to make it a special one. 

I planned ahead to make sure that on the big day I would be doing my very favorite things with my very favorite people. And so naturally that meant I was off to visit my grandkiddos.

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Granny Puckett from Hoodwinked Too!

Spending time with young people is supposed to make you feel energized and youthful. Spending time with my busy little ones, ages 3 1/2 and 16 months however, quickly made me feel every single year the oldster. Wait. How can that be? Wasn’t I just dealing with my own kiddos a few years back? Well…maybe a bit longer ago than that-but it still feels like yesterday to me. 

So what’s changed? Besides the fact I’m not as peppy…(understatement)… seemingly in a blink diapers are different, baby food now comes in pouches instead of teeny jars-(more like food I imagine astronauts eat), and don’t get me started on the blasted red button on car seats! Just when I figured out the over-the-shoulder straps and click into place, my hands didn’t have the super-human strength required to snap that damn red button. (Inconveniently located in an area where I could do a lot of harm with a misfire, I might add. Who designs these crazy things? )

 Now to officially sound like an old person on a rant…

Life was so much easier when I had my kids in the 80’s and 90’s. Probably not as safe when it comes to car seats, but definitely easier!

I never did get the knack of fastening those two car seats the entire time I was there…but I did do things that reawakened long forgotten sights, sounds, and feelings from way back in the day when I was a younger version of me. 

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Starting with the sights. The majestic mountains reminded me of the many times I had driven alongside them on trips from Idaho to Utah. Starting at about age 19 I would drive my car (Henry) down to see my friends at college for brief visits. We wouldn’t really do much of anything, but we always had a great time together doing whatever it is that kids do at that age. 

Fast forward a few brief years, and I was frequently taking my baby daughter to the University Hospital there to receive treatment for her kidney disease. Gazing at the hospital now it surprised me that I was dealing with all that at 24 or 25 years old. Either I was very strong back then, or it was the youthful blessing of ignorance is bliss…

Of course when you look back with hindsight, you’re glad you didn’t know all that was coming. But it was a tender time, and those tender feelings rushed back. 

I actually felt grateful to be older (& wiser) because those uncertain times were now behind me. 

On to happier times, and fast forward quite a bit, and I remembered traveling up from Texas to drop my son for his time in the Americorps where he worked in the rugged wilderness of Utah for a time. A skip ahead brought memories of my daughter and her hubby married in the Salt Lake City Temple, and then a year later dropping my other son off for a two-year church mission. (That was a rough one as memories go…) 
Lots of memories and lots of years. But all of these things-past, brought me here today to my milestone birthday-present

Time  to  celebrate  the  here  and  now. 

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My birthday dinner was at The Roof Restaurant overlooking Temple Square where my daughter and son-in-law were married. (It also happens to be the same building where we celebrated their marriage with a lovely luncheon reception.) 

With beautiful views of Temple Square, the surrounding mountains, downtown cityscape, and the Capitol building, it was a wonderful place to be. 

The pianist even played a jazzy version of Happy Birthday just for me! It was a bit awkward when the waitress showed up with crème brûlée and a lit candle-not because I felt shy, but because I was sitting there drooling over a plate of tiny desserts, fork-at-the-ready that I’d already nabbed from the dessert buffet using my grandson as a decoy.

Embarrassing! 

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Oh well, eat, drink, be merry, and all that. I’m daily marching closer to the “all that” so I might as well enjoy it a bit. present

Being with my grands was the best gift I could have given myself, and a timely reminder to enjoy the dailies. And I did. Like sampling lots of little desserts on a plate. Picking wildflowers in a field. Blowing bubbles. Feeding the ducks and playing at the park. Bath time! The joy of boardgames, baking cookies, and watching cartoons. Going to the library and reading lots of books. Mud puddles and dancing. Jumping on an air mattress…(don’t try that one-just sayin’.)

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Being yourself with no inhibitions. Trying new things. Like Mickey Mouse waffles and kid’s toothpaste. (Yuck-bubblegum flavor? not so much…) 

Or trying old things you forgot about…like blue cotton candy, fruit loops, and cheap blue box mac & cheese. 

I even had Kool-aid for the first time in a million years. (Ok-not quite a million, I’m not THAT old!) 

Turns out, although I was dreading it, getting older really is just a state of mind. And if it continues to go the way it’s been going, I think I might like year 55 best of all.

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The year I learned that to be happy being “big” you actually have to think “small.” 

imageThat’s me having my cake and eating it too!

 

Queen_Minnie_BBSGrowing old is mandatory but growing up is optional.

~Walt Disney