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“It’s almost Pumpkins and Poems time,” Paige squeaked excitedly.  She was referring to the annual Pumpkins and Poems contest they have at her school every year.  As the name states, you can either write a Halloween type poem, or carve/paint/create a pumpkin.  Preferably a craft pumpkin so it doesn’t rot and ooze all over the school.

“Don’t you want to write a poem this year?” I hinted.

“Uh, no!”  Clearly I’m an idiot for even suggesting it.

So, Thursday night, with no free night left available between then and Monday, we sat down to start our project.  Nothing like a little procrastination.  In fairness, I had no idea Halloween had snuck up so fast.  I thought we had a whole ‘nother week!  Thank God for calendars.

After sniffing around over the garage, and in the basement, I came up with all our craving stuff that has been accumulated over my lifetime.  Books and books of patterns.  Some older than me, probably.

“Alright, babe,” I said, laying them all out in front of her.  “Dig on through and find something you want to carve!”

She plowed through the books, deeming them all unworthy of a first place prize (which she took home last year).

“Next,” she called out, like a Hollywood casting director when she got through the final book.

“Uh, that’s it.  That’s all we got to work with.”

“Oh.  Well then….” She picked the books back up, a pattern clearly in mind, and started thumbing through.  “Lawn of the Dead,” she proclaimed, reading off the name of the pattern she decided would better her chances of being Queen of the world.  Or at least Queen of her school.  For a half hour.

“Babe, that’s a three out of four star pattern,” I gently told her.  I could see myself slaving away for hours over this pumpkin that she just HAD to have, but couldn’t do on her own.  “Don’t you want to try something else?”

“No!  This is the PERFECT one.  I just HAVE to have it!”

I heaved a great sigh and said, “Well, alright then.  Rip that bad boy out and let’s get started.

Having never carved a pumpkin herself, I told her I would get her started, and punch the pattern into the pumpkin for her.  I sat and patiently poked holes through the pattern, trying to keep them tight together, making it easier to follow.

“Now,” I said.  “We pull off the pattern, and set it aside, so we can use it as a visual guide if needed.”

“Mom, can I do it?” she asked.

“Sure!”  I was thrilled she was taking the initiative.  The LAST thing I wanted to do was sit around all night giving my hand a cramp.  I put the knife into the pumpkin and handed the whole thing over.  “Alright, now keep it in your lap, like this, and don’t rush!  Go nice and slow!  This is really just a large game of connect the dots.”

“Alright, Ma, I got it!”  She shooed me away.

She called me back a couple times, to navigate the really tight corners, and to help her figure out how to carve out the eyes on the ghost.  And other than that, this was all her.


“You know, Paige, I REALLY don’t give you enough credit!”

“Yeah, Mom.  You really don’t,” she said, snootily.

She was so excited to drop off her pumpkin today at school.  I’m not sure when the judging is, but I know she can hardly wait for the judges to see her very first pumpkin attempt.