After a field trip to a local farm, the kids returned home from school, each with a pie pumpkin and a gourd. Ty fell in love with his gourd. He turned it into his pet pumpkin. He made a bed out of a small plastic bucket for his little friend and put it on a shelf by his bed. Every night he hugged it and bid it goodnight.
He named his gourd, Pumpkiny.
He begged me to let him take it to school, and when I refused, Ty was content to set Pumpkiny down on the hallway table to await his return. It was a very well behaved pumpkin. But as all new things that fascinate a five year old, something more exciting caught Ty's attention and Pumpkiny was left, abandoned, on the shelf.
Sunday afternoon, while I was straightening up the kids' room, I noticed a white fuzzy patch blooming on Ty's little pumpkin. I made the mistake of throwing it in the composter, thinking Ty had moved on to items of more interest.
I was wrong.
Sunday night, after we had carved two giant pumpkins into spooky works of art, Ty headed upstairs. I didn't realize it at the time, but he had decided he must show Pumpkiny what we had created. He ran upstairs to find his friend. He called out, hoping for a reply, but none came. Then I heard a familiar tone in Ty's voice.
That tone a mother uses to call her children when she realizes they aren't where she thinks they should be.
"Pumpkiny? ......Where are you, Pumpkiny?!? .......Pumpkiny!!?!?!!!!"
You know that feeling when you realize you've done something unintentional that has possibly scarred your child for life? Yeah. I raced up the stairs and found him on the top landing. Sobbing.
"He was the best pumpkin I ever had. I gave him a name and everything. Waaaaaah!"
It's not without its sense of comedy, but I can't laugh. Pumpkiny was a thing he cared for and adored. What he is grieving is not the point.
He is grieving.
The loss is real to Ty. Fortunately for me, the loss is easy to replace with a quick trip to the grocery store. Unfortunately, the selection of orange gourds is zero. Zip. Denied. Pumpkiny is gone. Forever. Well, until at least next year.
Pumpkiny II is a little larger than his predecessor, and comes with a pre-painted face. I made sure to take a picture of this one so when the same fate befalls Ty's new companion, he at least has a keepsake for remembrance.