Down in the old neighborhood where we used to live, where the bay breezes swirl right off the water and into your hair and the streets are still brick, there is held, every fall, a lantern walk.
Some of our sweet former neighbors are responsible for this wonderful night filled with wonder. It's a night that makes you want to go jump in a pile of dead leaves and wear boots and carve pumpkins and drink pumpkin drinks. It's just a very "Fall" thing to experience.
Last year I went with Evie when she was still small enough to be wrapped up in a baby wrap and young enough to fall asleep during the walk.
I had so much fun. Basically what happens is everyone gets a lantern (if you're a kid and your parents are on top of things, you can make your own lantern), and we all walk through the neighborhood carrying our lanterns and singing. It's great because the lanterns glow all soft and colorful once the sun goes down. Then we come back to the house and drink apple cider.
And eat homemade donuts.
After the lantern walk we eat homemade donuts.
I probably don't need to tell you that they are fantastic and that this is one of the main motivating factors for attending the lantern walk.
Although, I honestly do get really excited about lanterns, too. Also, our neighbors are super nice people and a bunch of our friends go.
It's just an all around great time for everyone.
I was thinking this year would be even more awesome because Evie is now old enough to marvel at the lanterns and delight in the joys of being able to eat donuts.
Upon arrival, I realize that Evie has decided to be in a mood. And she has not picked a good one. And I am by myself because Mike is working.
She fusses and cries when anyone else tries to hold her. And cries even louder when I walk a few steps away to get something for her out of the stroller. I show her the lanterns, which amuse her for a time, but she tries to stick her hands inside one to mess with the candle, which is lit. With fire. Then she gets real angry because I don't let her touch the fire. Then she decides that since she can't touch the fire, there is no point in even desiring to participate in holding a lantern.
Finally the walk begins, and I just stick her in the stroller and plug in the paci. Sometimes that is all you can do. After all, I'd like for at least one of us to enjoy this thing that I have been looking forward to for weeks.
My friend is kind enough to notice my semi-distress and takes over wheeling Evie down the sidewalk so that I can hold a lantern and feel like a normal person.
The walk is actually pretty pleasant. And I think to myself, Yesss. And when this is done there are homemade donuts.
And here they are in all their glory. There seem to be piles of them everywhere when we return from our walk. I try to get a good photo of one pile, settle for the one above, and pick myself out a glazed circle of goodness. So tasty. Oh. Evie will surely delight in one of these.
I pick off a little piece and hold it up to her mouth. In classic Evie fashion, she keeps her lips sealed shut and jerks her little head away like I am offering her a piece of raw broccoli.
A couple of friends come to inquire optimistically about how Evie liked the donut, and upon learning that she refused to try it, they say the same thing.
"This just proves that children don't know what's good for them."
And I just eat another bite of donut and shake my head and think, No. No, they surely do not.
I left the lantern walk feeling somewhat disappointed. I had envisioned me and Evie having this wonderful night together, where she would be amazed at the lights and sounds and tastes. It didn't quite work out that way, and I found myself just wanting to put Evie to bed and call it a night.
I think we'll probably have lots of times like this in our future. I think that's probably just the truth of raising a tiny human. Things don't go according to plan. Sometimes tiny humans get tired or sick or stubborn. Sometimes they want to just toddle about and pick at grass and couldn't care less about the pretty lights you are trying to show them. Sometimes they want to stick their hands in lit candles. Sometimes they want to throw a fit when you won't let them. Sometimes they don't make any sense whatsoever.
And so sometimes, the necessary thing to do is to make ourselves sit down for a minute and eat a donut and enjoy ourselves anyway.
Because toddlers can, at times, be a little bit insane. And it is best if, through this whole parenting journey, this insanity doesn't rub off on us.
Hmmm...you know what? It would probably be ok to eat two donuts.