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Explaining An Absent Parent: Show Vs. Tell (I say SHOW!)

JD and I went apple picking over the weekend. We drove to Riamede Farm in Chester with GF Carlo, my niece Juliette and my mom. (My brother’s wife is earning her Masters on the weekend, so she couldn’t come with us.) On the way to the farm, JD said something out of the blue and it was just another indication of how aware he is that his father is not around.

We played “I Spy with my little eye,” on the way to the farm. JD yelled, “I spy a blue van! I spy a green car! I spy an airplane! I spy a lady in a car! I spy Mema’s glasses.” Then Juliette said, “I spy a big bird!” We all looked out and up, and sure enough a bird was gliding overhead.

“The birdies don’t have daddies,” said JD.

“What?” said Juliette?

Silence in the car.

Silence in the car.

Silence in the car.

“Some birds do, bud! But some just live with mommies, like you!” Then I put the radio on and JD became occupied with singing that, “Hey soul sister," song. No one uttered a word about what he said. It was like he didn’t say it. But I felt it. I internalized it alone. The guilt was heavy. GF Carlo asked for a piece of gum.

We arrived at the farm. The sun was bright and when the wind blew orange and yellow leaves twirled and swirled all around. “It’s snowing leaves!” I said to my son and niece, pointing at the trees. “Whoa!” JD said, pointing. His eyes were looking at something he’d never seen before. He looked amazed or like he was staring at a cupcake the size of a house.

JD and Juliette ran into the massive orchard. “Run, run, run, you guys!” I said. “I running Mama!” JD said. My mom, brother and I walked behind them. “Ah to be young!” I said and ran after them.

When JD reached for an apple like a big boy, I remembered apple picking at that very farm when he was just one. I pushed him in the stroller, picked apples from the trees and took a bite out of one for him to try and eat. I can’t believe he’s 3!

This year, however, JD didn’t need my help starting his apple.

“I gonna eat this, Mama!” he said. “It's so good!”

After spending an hour perusing around the fragrant orchard, we seemed to lose our way and walked right into a patch of cherry tomatoes. A farm worker handed me a bag and told JD to pick some. This was like letting the average kid loose in a candy store. JD loves cherry tomatoes. He’ll eat a whole crate in one sitting.

Next, we ran around the pumpkin patch.

Here he is at Abma’s Farm last year.

And here we are when he is just a month old, picking his very first pumpkin. (Hi baby weight, it's me, Chrissy.)

It wasn’t until I sat down to pull pictures for this blog that I started to think about the “Birds don’t have daddies” comment. Family, friends and even people who read this blog often ask me what I’m going to tell JD when he’s old enough to understand his father is not around. That conversation will evolve and mature as he does (and I'm fairly certain his father will come around), but more than that, I’ll show him OUR life. I spend a lot of time wondering about telling JD about his dad, but I know I’ll spend more time telling him about me, about us and SHOWING him the photographs of our life together. See, we proceeded with life as usual…We pick pumpkins every year. There's telling and SHOWING...there's words and ACTIONS...

What types of Fall traditions do you engage in with your family? Do you document your life with your child with pictures, a blog, letters? How will you explain an absent parent? I love having a blog and pictures so JD can see what our life has always been like -- it's important, I think.

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Attention! The Thomas the Tank Engine winner is... Kari Rogers. Congrats!