My daughter has grown up in an apple orchard.
Perhaps not literally, but as we get ready for our annual apple
picking trip this weekend, I can't help but be struck by how very
much she has changed since our first few fall outings to collect
She is now 11 years old and I'm pretty sure our
first apple picking trip was when she was three. It's possible that
we went when she was two, but I don't have a specific memory of
that. I do, however, remember her glee at the orchard when she was
three. One of my very favorite pictures of the two of us is in an
oil barrel train at an orchard. Her sheer delight is so
Our trips to the orchard over time show how much
some things have changed.
Since we've started apple picking, my daughter has
grown several feet. It used to be that I had to hold her up to
select the perfect fruit. Now she's almost as tall as I am. (Please
note the "almost" in that sentence. Despite her wishes and protests
to the contrary, she is not there yet.)
When we first went apple picking, I had to take a
camera, because it never occurred to me that I needed a camera
phone. I didn't have an iPad to entertain her on the trek to the
The first orchard we went to is now closed, and
we've been to orchards in Indiana
The company on our trips to the orchard have
reflected different stages in our lives. Sometimes it has been just
me and my girl, sometimes we have gone with friends, sometimes with
my daughter's father. For the past three trips, my current husband
- my daughter's stepfather - has joined in the fun. Going to the
apple orchard with us was a big test for him in my mind. I wondered
what would happen if he couldn't have fun with my daughter and I
there. My worry was unnecessary. He's a fun apple picker and great
At the same time, there have been
Being outside in the fresh air away from our daily
routine and chores and just wandering among the trees never fails
to feel like a fun adventure and seriously good quality family
The crunch of the first sweet bite of a juicy apple
picked straight from the tree is always a joy, no matter how old
Speaking of fun treats, my daughter has annually
looked forward to and appreciated the sugary goodness of apple
cider doughnuts made fresh at the orchard. I will not be at all
shocked if she wants to serve them at her wedding some
We've always loved baking with our apples once back
at home. My daughter has always been my helper although now she can
make many of the recipes by herself.
Reflecting on her childhood through a series of
mental snapshots taken in various orchards makes me grateful that
we've made apple picking an annual event. It has underscored to me
the importance of tradition, as much for me as for my daughter, and
it's one tradition that I hope continues far into the
Although she’d like to be taller and have more time to dive into good books, Shannan is awfully happy with her life in the western suburbs, where she moved after a decade of living on the north side of the city. She blogs about parenting a tween at Tween Us on ChicagoNow and at Families in the Loop.
See more of Shannan 's stories here.
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