When Your Pumpkin Is a Cantaloupe
I live in a 1993 model trailer in my grandparents’ front yard. My grandparents have a nice brick home with a manicured lawn. My house is the worst lawn ornament ever. My grandfather diligently mows, trims, and polices his yard as if it were a paying position at a golf course. I, on the other hand, don’t seem to find the time or energy to clean up as frequently.
I have an extremely large pride of cats and two extremely large dogs, as well as four children. So my section of the yard looks less than pristine. In an attempt to make it better, I decided to plant pumpkins and morning glories around my front porch. I figured the vines would take over everything and hide most of the imperfections. Last year, I made two small pumpkins—and I was thoroughly pleased. So this year when I noticed the vines coming back, I was elated to think that, again, I would have baby pumpkins to love.
A month or so back, I noticed one green tiny fruit under the edge of my porch, and I’ve been watching with anticipation as it has increased in size. I posted a picture of it on Facebook in proud parent fashion and was shocked when my sister, my own flesh and blood, said it looked like a watermelon. Excuse me, ma’am…it’s clearly a pumpkin! Pfft…It’s hard to find people who understand the life of a simple farmer.
Last year, my pumpkins were named Thomas and Phillip. This year’s pumpkin was named Samuel. Science has proven that taking to plants helps them to grow, so don’t judge me. Two weeks ago, I noticed something strange happening to Samuel. He began to have grid-like lines all over. I was concerned he wasn’t getting adequate water, so I began pouring water on his main roots daily. The thought that something wasn’t right crossed my mind, but I shoved it down deep into my subconscious, where all scary emotions belong. After getting back from a trip to Children’s Hospital, I could deny the horrible truth no longer. Samuel is not a pumpkin—he isn’t even a gourd. Samuel…is a cantaloupe.
How could this have happened? I didn’t plant cantaloupe! I planted pumpkins!
My overly analytical brain has worked this travesty over numerous times since realizing the horrible truth about Samuel, and I’ve come up with a life lesson to be learned from this. In life, regardless of planning, the chaos theory prevails. One must accept that pumpkins aren’t always pumpkins, no matter how badly we want them to be. Cantaloupes aren’t evil; they are sweet and delicious. Even though I had my heart set on one but instead got the other, I should rejoice in the fact that my vines produced fruit, nonetheless.
One would think I’d be accustomed to these sorts of switch-a-roos, being that almost everything in my entire life has been this exact scenario in one way or another. Like planning to have just one more child and ending up with a son who isn’t merely changing my life, but the lives of everyone he meets. Or having a concrete plan to work all of my useful years, only to be forced into stay-at-home mom land because of said special child.
I guess nature gives me these much more visible examples of acceptance, lest I become bitter and lost in despair. You see, Maximus was supposed to be a pumpkin. Maximus was planned out to be a pumpkin. Maximus was nurtured with the expectation that a perfect pumpkin would form and I would get exactly what I wanted. But sometimes, I don’t get to decide between pumpkins and cantaloupes. Sometimes, the choice is made for me, and I must either accept what I’m given, or choose to reject the fruit and ignore the positive aspect of the change.
The place where my vines grow is rocky and doesn’t have sunshine all the time, and my cats rummage through it to perform their daily processes. None of these things are ingredients that produce rich soil, primed to produce fruit. My vines grew and thrived, regardless. Even though the environment was harsh and somewhat unforgiving, fruit grew.
The world I brought my child into is equal to that of my front-porch garden. Maximus is my unplanned fruit, and I can appreciate him for exactly what he is, a beautiful product of nature that has made it much further than he should. I am thankful for both Maximus and Samuel. Today I’m going to eat Samuel, so that is where the similarity ends.
Previously published here.