1st Annual Pumpkin Bash

by Troy C. Thomas



To be honest I wish came up with the idea. But I didn’t. It was Marlene’s. And she made a good call. Not only were the kids eager to have a little fun. But once they finally got started the games were over. They forgot we were even there.

In the last few months my friends and I have made arrangements for the children to spend quality time. Usually the location would be swimming at Michelle’s house. Most of the time we would do it around lunchtime on Friday. It was the safest situation for all of us. Living in LA we deal with so much traffic. You usually have to base your day off of where you have to be and what time you have to be there. Each variable is important. And if there are events going on, possibly a car accident(which are very common) and people just all trying to go somewhere at the same time of day. So Friday was good for us. It was summer, so we had nowhere important for the kids to be. And this summer became the one where the kids bonded. They have always enjoyed each other. But this summer we had them together as much as possible. This was not planned. It just happened that way. There were always kid’s birthday parties, family events, camping trips and even a staycation.

So let me get back to this great idea. Marlene Carmona also known as “Mile’s mom,” suggested that we should have the kids spend the day decorating pumpkins for Halloween. It did not float my boat, but I was cool with it. Our kids have huge imaginations and I was sure it couldn’t hurt for them to be creative for a few hours. And then Michelle (aka “Eggy”/“Gorgeous”) volunteered my house *side eye*. But who cares, I love seeing the kids run around. They do so much with their time together. Plus they are only young for so long and I want to enjoy it. They are growing up with their own tribe. They have their own support system. I almost become jealous watching them. I think my fellow friends/parents do too. They all get to be themselves and with the people they love. There is power in numbers. And I swear every time I look up someone new is pregnant. So the tribe grows consistently. At one point in time, My daughter Taylor was the baby. Now she is running around with the big kids. Time flies past you. And the only way you know is by watching your cub grow up.

I spent most of the day cleaning up the house: washing dishes, dusting, straightening up the backyard, mopping and even cleaning our rooms. And Taylor had swimming lessons that day, so we had to leave the house for a couple of hours. But once we returned home I was back onto home cleaning duties. I setup the BBQ grill. Designated the different ice coolers for the kid’s drinks. I had to pull out the jumper for the kids as well.That is definitely a lifesaver. The kids hop around in them for hours. A sure shot good investment for any party dealing with little ones. Eventually my mother and sister show up with the chili and the numerous sweets that my mother baked. And while they were setting up, I took the opportunity to bathe. Which I enjoyed tremendously, it was my first relaxation of the day. But I had to cut it short. There was still more to do around the house. The amazing part about hosting is that you clean up your home for it to get dirty. I get it, but it still does not add up to me most of the time. Eggy eventually showed up and handled Taylor while I finished arranging things. All I can say is the day passed me by. In a little over an hour my house would be full of kids and their parents. And you never know how that will play out. They might ransack the whole house. Or they could just run around in the backyard or hang in the playroom. The kids are always unpredictable. As far as the adults, we are more predictable. We are always in the kitchen and/or the backyard (also known as “The Boardroom” and “Thee Sanctuary”).

Once Marlene and Miles walked thru the door it was on. More and more people filed in within minutes. Now we had to prepare the food. Which is one of the biggest parts of our time together. We cook for one another. We share our favorite dishes. And today would be no different. I was grilling chicken links, carne asada and marinated chicken. Today’s menu would be my mom’s homemade chili and tacos. Also everyone else was designated to cook an additional dish or contribute something. I want to paint an accurate picture, there was food everywhere. After all the food was prepared then we relaxed. And once the kids found their groove, then the adults could have fun. So we go back and forth between eating, catching up and toasting. The kitchen is the spot where it all goes down. There have been some of the funniest things to happen there. And some of the most emotional occurrences. My kitchen is a place of comfort, safety and communication. We congregate there. I am not sure why it happened that way. But it has stuck. It is the place in the house where the biggest smiles are flexed and the heaviest tear drops are shed.

As the night went along, we almost did not get to the reason for the season. So we finally started setting up the paint for the pumpkins. The dining area of the house would be the location. There is a decent sized table for the kids to put all their pumpkins on. And once the paint was setup it was on. It went from a house of noise, to almost complete silence from the children. They got tunnel vision focusing on how they wanted to decorate. For me it was definitely a lesson learned. We witnessed the affect that it had on the kids. So in the future there will for sure be more arts & crafts projects. And as I watched my favorite midgets painting, drawing and cutting open pumpkins it made me realize how much of a mess they were making. There was paint and glitter everywhere, allover the table and floors. And of course my child was making the biggest mess. She was trying to pour paint into a spoon. And the majority of it ended up on the floor. Thank goodness it was a water-based paint. It came up pretty easily. That made me very happy. But I actually found more enjoyment watching the children display their imaginations. That was the biggest deal to me. It made the night. They had all the fun they usually expect being together. But they got a new experience to add to their lists. It’s a pretty nice list too. They are blessed. And they know it. What more can you ask for.

The real job of being a parent is protecting the child from themselves, that’s the goal. This can sometimes even be fun. But most of the time it’s a learning situation for even the parent. At the same time you want to show and give them the world. It’s a balancing act. But it is so worth it. Some the biggest smiles that have ever formed on my face have been watching my child and the children I love live and enjoy their moments. This is what has become of my life and the lives of my friends and family. We love to see our children smile. We love to see them have new experiences(together). The experiences vary too. Sometimes it can be as simple as just hanging in the house or as extravagant as taking trips out of town together. It does not matter to them, they cherish each second. They even try to make us extend the time. So they definitely have a value for it. They look forward to their quality time. Actually they expect it now. Together we have built something. Something beautiful, something mighty. We have built a family.

About the Author

Troy C. Thomas

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