Last Sunday night we took Henry to his first rodeo. Dressed in his daddy’s vintage pearl snap baby shirt and his jeans, he looked pretty darn cute. He almost made it through the entire rodeo, but alas baby dreams called and we had to skirt out before the last events.
For me, going to the rodeo is kind of a double edged sword. It’s a reminder of a life I once had and while I love watching and supporting all the cowgirls and cowboys who come to our town to entertain the masses, it’s sometimes hard for me to watch as a spectator.
Lately, I’ve wondered if I’m living a life that is authentically me or if the life I lived as a barrel racing cowgirl in Elko County was more of who I really am. It’s not that I’m unhappy. I have a really amazing life. I just wonder how I went from being a tough as nails horse woman to a suburban mom/career woman. Is it possible to have both? Could I overlap the Jenny of then with the Jenny of now?
Of course, I’m grateful for the path my life has taken. I finished my education. I’ve traveled. I fell in love with and was smart enough to marry a man with integrity. I’ve become a mom, which was always one of my deepest desires (despite what I would have said in my early twenties).
But the fact is when I watch the cowboys and cowgirls a part of me yearns for that life again.
The smell of horse sweat and cow shit and broken in leather.
The absolute high of being one with a horse. Of running at full speed. The power and thrill of letting a horse have his head and just run. The trust that comes from that partnership.
The quiet solace of riding alone on off days.
The anticipation and excitement when arriving at the rodeo grounds. Walking the arena and smelling the iron in the dirt. The sweet smell of alfalfa.
Practicing and training for hours and hours and the absolute bliss when things finally came together.
Traveling on the road, eating crap food, listening to country music and hanging out with my dad.
I don’t know if I ever completely fit in in that world and I don’t know if I’ll ever completely fit in in this world either.
I’m a bit too liberal for most country folk. I’m a bit redneck and a little too straight forward sometimes for city folk.
I never learned the art of schmoozery. It just wasn’t part of the world that I grew up in.
I fear that there will always be a part of me that misses horses. And a part of me that is pissed that I ever let that world go. I know that the path my life has taken is part of a larger, more important journey and that there is no use in regret or the what ifs…could haves… should haves…
The truth is that by the end of my senior year of high school I was absolutely burnt out on rodeo and horses. It took me three years before I really thought about riding again and I got *this* close to buying a horse when I was in college.
This weekend we will head to Elko for my high school reunion. I’m torn about how I will feel there. There’s a part of me that yearns for small town life again. I desperately want Henry to have the childhood that I did.
I want him to know the magic of horses.