My daughter stands posed, feet shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent, with her softball bat pointing upwards at an angle over her shoulder. She faces me, eyes staring at my hand, patiently waiting. Underhand, I toss the orange object towards her.

 

Her arms swing the bat and the momentum spins her around in a circle. Strike!

 

She laughs, raises the bat once again, anticipating the next pitch.

 

I bend over and pick up another coral colored piece of fruit. She swings. WHACK!

 

A pumpkin chunk explodes into tiny pieces, guts filling the air, seeds flying in different directions, and I get sprayed with a slimy mass of strings and pumpkin juice.

 

A couple of minutes earlier she was standing over a pumpkin, pounding it with the bat she’s “had since I was six years old. Remember, it was bigger than me. Look at how small it is now.”

 

She was hitting it over and over again. Breathing hard she had stopped, leaned on the bat, and commented, “Dad, I can’t even make a dent in this pumpkin. This is good therapy!”

 

She’s right. This is good therapy. I pitch the next chunk.

Read more

 

I’m grateful for family traditions. There are those traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation. Hanging ornaments on the Christmas tree is a simple example. And then, there’s adding the tradition of hiding a pickle ornament in the tree Christmas Eve and the person who finds it gets the “extra” present. Each family blends traditions from their childhood and continues it with children of their own.

 

However, sometimes, the best family traditions are those that sneak up out of nowhere and become an annual event. This happened three years ago with Pumpkin Baseball. After Halloween, we gather our carved pumpkins (and any other pumpkins we can find – which is nearly close to impossible by November 2nd), a few baseball bats, and have some fun. Today, not only will my former spouse and girls make pumpkins explode in their backyard, but we’ve invited friends and family to join us. I’m grateful for the annual customs that brings our family together.