The first thing I noticed when I started putting together this week’s blog entry, was that I don’t have many current pictures of us together (I’ll get some added asap). We’ll need to do something about that this weekend. I guess that’s probably because I’ve always been the star, and you’ve always been “production” in the reality show of my life, but your value has never been in question. Without you, there’s no me.
In addition to the countless lessons about life you’ve taught, and continue to teach me, you were a horse show mom for many years. On weekends when I’m sure you probably had plenty of things of your own you’d have liked to have been doing, you were helping me load up the trailer at ungodly hours in the morning, to spend days covered in dust, sweat, horsehair, and an odd perfume of fly spray, show sheen, and Buddy slobber. Only then to help re-load the trailer, and keep whoever was driving awake on the ride home.
The beauty of a horse show mom, like many other mom’s of various sports and activities, is that when you needed help at the show, and called out, “MOM!” someone always came running. It might be your mom, it might be a stranger, but they were prepared to jump at the call, and provide whatever was needed. What’s still funny to me, is how many of my friends still call my parents “mom and dad.” I’m reasonably certain they did learn their actual names at some point, but I guess have always preferred the simpler and more comfortable monikers.
When I sit at baseball games now with my boyfriend’s son, and I’m the “mom” everyone turns to when something is needed, most often first aid supplies LOL, it reminds me of the great training I had. A horse show mom carried all her tasks without seeming to be burdened by them, and mysteriously had exactly what you needed, whenever you needed it. They are the work horses of the show world: pockets stuffed with bobby pins, lipstick, tissues. Able to zip chaps, button tiny buttons, tuck shirts in (how was a stepstool always around when we never saw you carry one?), and wipe ever dusty boots and hooves, all in one sweep. Dying of thirst? You and your mom worked out sign language so she had a lemonade waiting for you when you left the arena. Fall off your horse during a class (oh the embarrassment!)? Mom was yelling across the arena, “do you need your step stool?!”
Some of my favorite memories were always after big wins, jumping down off Buddy to be wrapped in hugs, and even after the toughest losses, to be wrapped in bigger hugs. Our weeks at the fair, seeing all the moms who stayed on the grounds forming their own little gang. Mom washing her hair at the wash rack and strolling the fairgrounds with her hair in a towel turban. Mom staying up long past my falling asleep to wash dirt out of show pants in a hotel room sink, and drying them with a hairdryer so they were ready for the next day. Moms are superheroes without the benefit of a cape.
On the weekends when my own mom couldn’t be there, I always had backups (including dad, your letter’s coming). Friend’s moms, and sometimes just the friends (we all got to be pretty handy at filling in) were on standby for whoever needed them. I remember being at a show once that had been pretty muddy outdoors, and eventually was moved indoors. A mom with a hose was spraying off her own daughter’s horse’s legs, then a friend’s, then a line formed. She stood near the entrance to the indoor arena for an entire class-worth of horses, carefully rinsing mud off each one, with a smile on her face, wishing each rider good luck.
To you Mama, I owe the deepest of apologies for all the times I was a monster-I know there were many, and a lifetime of gratitude for all your support. I’m the mom I am today to an amazing young man, he may not be mine by birth or on paper-but I couldn’t be more proud to call him mine, and to his circle of friends, because of the mom you are to me. I love you to the moon and back!
Your baby girl