EVERYDAY ADVENTURES: Fall Break Breakdown

Photo credit:  CroMary / shutterstock.com

My family and I couldn’t wait for Monday morning. It was my kids’ fall break, and I had taken the week off so we could all hang out together for an autumn staycation. Who needs a fancy beach trip or a week at Disney to have fun? Not us! Our minivan was a party on wheels.  We had dozens of things we could do within a few minutes of home that would be an absolute blast. 

First up on our list of festivities? One of our favorite traditions, our annual pumpkin patch excursion. We had been taking our daughters to the local pumpkin patch since they were born, and we couldn’t think of a better way to kick off a week of family fun.

The pumpkin patch didn’t open until 10:00, but we wanted to be the first ones there to get our pick of the best pumpkins. At least I did, and I knew everyone would thank me later for waking them at the crack of dawn on their first day of vacation.

We got up bright and early Monday morning to get a jump on the other staycation families. The pumpkin patch didn’t open until 10:00, but we wanted to be the first ones there to get our pick of the best pumpkins. At least I did, and I knew everyone would thank me later for waking them at the crack of dawn on their first day of vacation.

At 9:30 we were pulling out of our driveway, all dressed in orange, headed to the country for some serious harvest fun. We got so excited on the drive out that we started changing the words of Christmas songs to get us in the autumn mood. Well, mainly me. Sleigh Ride became Hay Ride. Jingle Bells became Pumpkin Shells. You get the picture. 

By the time we got there, we were pumped and ready to go. Best of all, we did it!  We were the first car in the parking lot! Just like I’d planned it! 

However, my enthusiasm soon turned to confusion when I realized we weren’t the just first car in the parking lot. We were the only car. No employees or anything.

The Pumpkin Patch was closed.

I glanced at the time on my phone. Sure, we were a few minutes early, but the place looked deserted. I walked up to check the sign on the door. Closed on Mondays. 

I couldn’t believe it. Closed on fall break? This was ridiculous! I felt like Clark Grisswold driving across the country just to discover Wally World was closed for repairs.

We had rain setting in later in the week and some other plans we couldn’t change so this was our one chance to go to pick pumpkins.  It was now or never.   

Back in the van, my wife was already Googling other pumpkin patches to see what was open. The nicest one was a haul, a good forty minute drive, but there was a closer one only twenty minutes away. We had been to it before on a field trip, but it wasn’t awesome. Like I said, though, it was close, so I took off in that direction, figuring we could pivot if we changed our minds. 

That’s when the whole trip fell apart. One kid wanted to go to the pumpkin patch that was farther away. The other was sick of driving and just wanted to stay close. My wife, sensing things were going south, was ready to head home and call it a day.  I, however, refused to give up my delusion of a perfect beginning to fall break. Nobody was bailing on this dream vacation if I had any say in it.

That’s when the whole trip fell apart. One kid wanted to go to the pumpkin patch that was farther away. The other was sick of driving and just wanted to stay close. My wife, sensing things were going south, was ready to head home and call it a day.  I, however, refused to give up my delusion of a perfect beginning to fall break. Nobody was bailing on this dream vacation if I had any say in it.

Did I mention I’d rolled everyone out of bed early? Now my crew was tired, getting hungry and done with being in the car together. 

It didn’t take long before we were all mad at each other. Tensions escalated. Tempers flared. What had started as the best day was pretty much turning into the worst. 

Finally, I pulled over on the side of the road and told everyone to get out and walk home. 

Just kidding. Actually I pulled over to the side of the road, and we prayed and asked God just to help us start over and make the most of our day. 

We ended up driving to the pumpkin patch that was farther away, and it turned out to be a great afternoon and an awesome fall break. I can only describe that as a God thing, a gift of pure grace when we were all on the verge of losing our minds.    

In the midst of a crazy day, it’s never a bad idea to stop and ask God for a reset. He’s a God of new beginnings both big and small. In fact, the Bible says His mercies are new every morning. That means that every moment is a potential fresh start with God. 

In the midst of a crazy day, it’s never a bad idea to stop and ask God for a reset. He’s a God of new beginnings both big and small. In fact, the Bible says His mercies are new every morning. That means that every moment is a potential fresh start with God. 

A family fall break can be a blast, but taking a mini break with God can change the whole trajectory of your day. •

Photo credit:  CroMary / shutterstock.com
 

Jason Byerly is a writer, pastor, husband and dad who loves the quirky surprises God sends his way every day. You can read more from Jason in his books Tales from the Leaf Pile and Holiday Road. You can catch up with Jason on his blog at www.jasonbyerly.com.

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