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While Halloween was a day for witches, ghosts and goblins, the fondest memory I made during the recent holiday was watching my son enjoy one of the most innocent and pure childhood traditions during this time of year - playing in the autumn leaves.
It may not seem that significant to many of you, but it was to me. This was the first time (at least that I know of) that my 4-year-old son discovered the joys of playing, jumping and burying himself in a huge pile of leaves. Sunday, while visiting some dear friends of ours in Calvary for trick-or-treating, my son immediately forgot about his bag of treats the minute he set his eyes on the huge mound of leaves in their front yard. Fully dressed in his Iron Man costume, Owen chose to bypass the packages of Skittles and Sour Patch Kids and dove, headfirst, into a heap of leaves while children around him filled their bags with treats.
As I watched him jump in and out of his leafy mountain, I thought to myself, "Wouldn't it be nice if life stayed that easy and something as simple as jumping in leaves made you happy."
My son was completely overjoyed as he sprinted toward the pile of leaves and did his version of a cannonball inside the brown, orange and red heap. He had no worries. No deadlines. No responsibilities. He was just being a kid and his biggest concern was scooping the leaves up in a perfect pile before jumping in them again and again, destroying the pile with his super power strength.
I can remember doing the same thing with my twin sister and our neighbors on Sallie Ray Pike in Raywick. We spent hours upon hours on fall afternoons jumping in piles and piles of leaves. There was literally nothing better. And, although it's been a long time, I can still remember what that carefree feeling felt like as a kid. Things were so much simpler then. We allowed our imaginations to run free and our clothes to get dirty. We stayed out past dark, not the least bit concerned about watching television, answering email messages or returning phone calls. We disconnected ourselves from technology and connected with our neighbors face-to-face, not on Facebook.
I miss the days when we were less connected to technology and more connected to each other.
So, as I watched my son frolic in the leaves Sunday evening, I ignored the voice in the back of my head telling me that I should check my cellular telephone for any missed calls or text messages. I tried to stop myself from looking at my watch. And, instead, just watched my son enjoy one of the simple pleasures in life.
When we returned home later that night, I ignored my knee jerk reaction to gripe at my son for getting the inside of my car dirty and covered in leaves. In fact, I just smiled as I attempted to wipe little bits and pieces of leafy remains out of my son's snotty nose and laughed as I looked at the leaves scattered all over my floor that had fallen out of his Halloween costume.
"Are you mad at me, momma?" he asked as I stared at the leaves strewn all over the floor.
"No, baby, I'm not mad," I replied. "It's no big deal."
And, as Owen ran, naked as a jaybird down the hall to the bathtub, I just laughed.
If only for a few moments, life was simple again.