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Fruits of My Labor

Fall's bounty. Each September the Farmer's Market vendors stack boxes of apples and tomatoes, peaches and peppers. Nothing awakens my pioneering genes like harvest season's steep per pound discount.

I really do think it's in my blood. I remember the mysterious nook in my grandmother's basement, with it's huge jars of canned pears from the tree in their backyard. The jewel-colored jams my mom piles into neat rows in her freezer.

When we moved to Moses Lake and traded Target for farm fields, I promised myself I would make the most of it. So I've rubbed elbows with farmers and learned about gleaning and we positively gorge ourselves on seasonal berries. And every September I pile my counters with boxes of corn, tomatoes, and good intentions.

Especially tomatoes. Oh how I love picking out those great big boxes of red, ripe orbs. The smell of earth and sunshine. The value. Picturing myself lovingly preserving them, and serving my family a meal of Summer Itself on a cold January evening.

Free of preservatives, of course.

In reality, by the time I roll up my sleeves, the tomatoes smell a little less like sunshine. Somewhere deep within one of those 25 pound boxes something gets a little pungent. I'm feeling less Wholesome Pioneer Woman and more let's just get this over with.

And The Mess from the blanching, the ice bath, the peeling and seeding....if tomato pulp was a new kitchen design statement, I'd be Joanna Gaines.

All this for two pots of tomato sauce? It boils down to so little.

This season brought with it new expectations, too. Here at the Pink Door House, we officially launched the twins into their first year of school.

All the promise of perfectly sharp crayons. The anticipation of new friends, their first recess, learning to read.

And the tears.

Oh sweet tomato sauce, the tears!

To date, I have wiped tears about: Not having time to eat lunch. Not wanting to use the school's bathroom. Hating the crosswalk. Packing a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Not packing a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Milk cartons and messy faces. Chapped lips. And that crosswalk!

These aren't the issues I'd prepared myself to handle.

I question what went wrong that we didn't prepare them for this. For kindergarten. I know I shouldn't. Those seeds were long sewn. But gosh, it's hard...reaping this fruit. I mean, just use the toilet. How did I not prepare you to use the toilet?

I once read that as a parent, you have to raise the child you have, not the child you thought you'd have.

It's an exercise in patience. And listening. One I'm admittedly struggling with.

Last week, Jason asked all the right questions about using the bathroom (Incidentally, they're afraid of not reaching the toilet paper). He even took them on a practice run. And we found out Quinn has already mastered the monkey bars. That's a fun surprise! Especially for this scared-of-heights fraidy-cat mama.

Reality rarely matches expectations. Kindergarten, it turns out, has some pungency. But it's ripe with promise, too.

After all...monkey bars!

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