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The Feeling of Family

We spent the better part of Saturday at the Fall Harvest Festival at Green Chimneys, a farm and school in Brewster, New York. Many of you know that this place is very important to me and my family.

It was a wildly windy and glorious fall day. We arrived in time for lunch at a picnic table. The big girls scarfed hot dogs. Husband and I ate vegetable chili and corn bread. The tiniest one gobbled one of her gourmet squeeze-tube-meals. Some combo of sweet potatoes, spinach, cinnamon, and prunes, I think. (When did baby food become so fancy?)

During lunch, Middle Girl began to cry. She said she hurt her finger and begged for a Band-Aid which of course I didn't have. Husband checked it out and pulled something, what we thought was a splinter, from her tiny finger. She continued to cry. Off they went in search of a Band-Aid. Turns out our little girl was the victim of a meanie-pants Yellowjacket. After a short stint at the health center, Husband and Middle Girl returned with that coveted Band-Aid and some ice. Her little finger was big.

But she was brave. And we distracted her with a big pumpkin-kitty cookie.

The big girls wandered in and out of a fun hay maze.

And we explored, taking in the brilliant fall foliage, and saying hi to the creatures.

I was particularly taken by the three sheep who stood together, heads hung, grazing on green.

I hung back as I so often do, willing myself to soak it all up, and in, the whispering wind, the profound patchwork of life, the deep feeling of family.

My city girls? They were happy. Strolling and skipping through a place very different than home, a place they already know and love.

We said hello to the pigs. Members of Dad's famed PhD program (Pig Hierarchy Division).

And there was that much-anticipated pony ride around the barn. The ponies, if they can actually be called that, were enormous, but my helmeted ladies climbed up and rode around. Their smiles? Vast. Pure. Priceless.

I thought back to our visit to the farm at this time last year. Girls, I said. Remember we were here last year and Mommy had a big belly? They nodded. Because Baby was in your belly! Big Girl explained.

And this year? She's very much here. Little Girl. And she loved the farm, too. Her favorite was the hay ride, where I propped her up. She danced and called out and clapped and kicked hay. And then she spent the rest of the afternoon cuddled tight to my chest, in and out of slumber. Every few minutes I looked down at her fuzzy head and kissed it.

The sky started to sprinkle rain and we headed home. The girls, of course, were sad to leave. As we drove back into the city, I thought about the day and the auspicious gusts of wind. I thought about life and family and uncomplicated fun. I thought of little girl smiles and bales of hay and crumbling pumpkin cookies. And I thought of those three sheep, of their closeness to one another, how they really did travel together around that small plot of earth. Like sisters.

It was a good day. __________________________________

What did you do on this gorgeous fall weekend? Are there meaningful places you like to visit and often? How often are you overcome by the power and privilege of family?

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