Fall is easily my favorite season. I love the leaves, picking apples, drinking spiced cider, carving pumpkins, all of it. It is no surprise, then, that I was especially excited when my daughter’s choir announced they would be having a family hayride in a local park. That kind of event is right up my alley.
Armed with cupcakes decorated with candy corn, we arrived at the local park for the hayride. The kids quickly split off into groups, and we learned that they had been assigned a choir “family” made up of choir members of varying ages.
Each little performed a short song for the parents sitting around the camp fire, which was a nice introduction to the choir members as we are new to the group. After the performances, the director announced it was time for the hayride.
But the hayride was just for the kids. There wasn’t enough room for parents. Not on this trip, anyway. Maybe there’d be time for rides for parents later.
I watched my daughter scramble up on a hay bale with her new friends and they rode off into the sunset.
It was one big metaphor for parenting tweens.
Tweens generally want you there, at events and in their lives, but when you are there, there isn’t always room for you. The fun events you used to do together are now fun activities they do with their friends. Peers are becoming even more important as parents become a bit more embarrassing. They’re not ready to fly solo all the time, but they are spreading those wings and taking short flights, or short hayrides. And you're left standing there, waiting for them to return.
Fortunately, tweens do come back. At least, mine still does for now and I’m so grateful. She was all smiles and eager to roast some marshmallows. My tween later taught me the fun songs that they sang on the hayride, complete with hand gestures. Perhaps it all worked out for the best, as her doing the gestures was cute, and my attempts to learn them (including the moose antler motions) were not pretty. I'm not worried about embarrassing her, it's more about preserving my own dignity. We did all have a good laugh, though. The next day as I washed the jackets to get the camp fire smell out, I smiled about that and the fun she had with her friends and the cup of cider and nice chat with my husband that I had around the fire waiting for her to return.