Well, Starbucks officially added the Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL) back to its menu last week. Many other companies had already rolled out their pumpkin spice offerings for the season before that.

Despite the lingering heat and humidity, it seems everyone is ready for fall. Kids are heading back to school. I’ve even seen a few trees in the neighborhood starting to take on orange and red hues in some of their leaves. I can’t believe it.

Seven weeks to go. Four years ago, I’d have had just over eight weeks to go at this point. So much has happened since then.

That first October, we marked Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day with a lit candle at 7:00 pm on the 15th. The first year, we took mini pumpkins to the grave to leave for our little Pumpkin, a touch of the festive holiday season we’d never get to celebrate with her.

I saw a post or a poem that first fall about white pumpkins, and how some loss parents give them special significance. It seemed fitting, since we’d been calling our baby The Pumpkin, that a white pumpkin should mean something. I bought a ceramic one at a fair that fall and put it on our mantelpiece.

The next year, I found another one at a local market and added it alongside the first. The third year, with my rainbow baby now in my arms, I chose a fancier glass blown pumpkin from a local Ohio artist. White, with rainbow-colored dapples along the bottom half, and a long, curling stem. That particular artisan typically sold such pumpkins at the Circleville Pumpkin Show here in Ohio. One of the many festive fall activities I’d imagined doing with my daughter.

Last year, my best friend and I ventured to the artist’s workshop for his Glass Pumpkin Festival, and I chose another. This one a whitish lavender, again with intricate curling stem, and slightly flattened on one side, to give the impression of a pumpkin that lay too long on the same side while growing, leaving it perfectly imperfect.

pumpkins on the mantle - Mary's Bump Day Blog, Week 33: It's Pumpkin Season

Author’s Personal Collection/Mary Mathes

This growing collection lives on my mantel year-round.

I doubt anyone else knows its significance. They’ve certainly never asked. Though I suppose they might find it odd that I leave four white pumpkins in the center, even at Christmastime, flanked by nativity scenes and embroidered stockings.

As #pumpkineverything season has now officially begun in earnest, I’ll start keeping an eye out for this year’s addition to the collection. Maybe I’ll find one carved from wood, to add another material to the mix.

Eventually, the collection will outgrow my mantel, but I’ve got a while before I need to worry about that. For now, the mantel seems like the safest place for them. My toddler sometimes notices them as I pick him up from the changing table nearby. “Ball!” he’ll shout, pointing at them.

“No, peanut, those aren’t balls. They’re pumpkins,” I explain. “We can’t play with them. They are very special, and fragile.”

So far, this explanation has sufficed. Someday, I’ll be able to explain it to him in more detail and trust that he’ll understand. And maybe someday, I’ll take both him and his sister to the Circleville Pumpkin Show, and they can help me pick out that year’s addition to the mantel.

Read more bump day blogs from Mary:

More on this topic:

Share this story!