I had always been attracted to the vibrant oranges of pumpkins and the promises of Fall and trick-or-treaters and a Thanksgiving table laden with turkey that those pumpkins represented. When Dragon was born on November 4, 2000, after we brought him home, I was restricted to staying close to home those first few days, recovering from a tough labor with my firstborn. One day, we found a lone pumpkin sitting on our doorstep of our first Palo Alto home. There was something about the roundness of the pumpkin and the roundness of the baby that pulled one toward the other. We propped newborn Dragon onto the colorful pumpkin and pulled out the Nikon. A grandmother’s hand hovers nearby to catch the wobbly Dragon in case he started to slide. Starting with that photo of newborn Dragon clinging for dear life to a pumpkin bigger than he was, a family tradition was born.
Last night, as I was driving across town, I had to drive by the Johnson Brothers’ Pumpkin Patch. Here was the pumpkin patch I had taken Hannah and Dragon every year, every October for over a decade, for a pumpkin photo shoot. This year, I knew, would be different. I had already taken our annual pumpkin photos last weekend in a new pumpkin patch, with Hannah and my nieces and nephew. But yesterday, driving by the Johnson Brothers’ patch, with its yardstick where Dragon and Hannah would rush to every year to see how much taller they’d gotten, I had to look away. It was too much.