Friday, October 9, 2015

The Missing Piece of Pumpkin Patch

It's Pumpkin patch time again. That statement is wrapped in so many different emotions for me that it almost makes my head spin to think about it. Excitement, anticipation, satisfaction, pride, honor, exhaustion, joy, frustration, gratefulness, encouragement, accomplishment, and even sadness. A single event stirs up so much, that it is hard to capture the magnitude of what the pumpkin patch represents.
1st Unloading Day at the Patch 2010
1st Unloading Day of 2015
I think for me, there will always be a shadow equated with what the Cooper Trooper pumpkin patch is. A shadow that looms heavy and seems to show itself around every corner and turn. I'm really aware of what it triggers in me, but somehow I manage to feel surprised by a darkness that is cast by it's shadow each year. While there are so many positive and happy emotions surrounding it, there is an ever present heaviness that I can't shake. I wonder why it feels so hard, yet completely understand it all the same.

The Pumpkin Patch is such a part of the fabric of who we are. It is a foundational piece of the story our family represents. It acknowledges where we have been and where we are going. It is seeing a vision that was once just that... a vision, now fully in existence. It continues moving forward, gaining momentum with each family touched. For those who have been in the thick of it with us from day 1, it is also felt. There is a gaping, missing, piece to the puzzle. Without Rod Cook, it feels incomplete in so many ways. It's something sacred, yet mostly unspoken. Probably because it is hard for those of us who feel it, to acknowledge it fully, for fear that the raw emotion will take over.

So, I try to remind myself that I shouldn't feel surprised at how "off" I feel right now. I conjure up empathy for my boys, when I have nothing left inside, because I know they are feeling "off" too...even if they don't fully understand why. I am thankful for those in my life who push me to give in to things I don't want to acknowledge that I might need...because reality is...I probably do need it.
I just want him here to see how amazing it is. I want him here to take a family picture in the pumpkins. I want to see him in his element, telling people about why they need to support Cooper Trooper. I want to hear him motivating the hundreds of people on unloading day. I wouldn't even mind hearing him complain about how he needed to wrap up, so he didn't miss an Alabama football game. I just want him here. And he is not. And it sucks!