Each year somewhere around January 15th we attend an event.
This event is made up of a slew of animals, kids, anxious parents (mainly dads) and controlled chaos.
This event is full of crazy emotions like, “Did we do enough, pick the right animal, feed it properly, will it stress out or just act a fool? Will it pee or poop on one of the kids this year? Who will have the first melt down…the kids, the animals…the parents?”
For mom, it usually goes like this, “Do the kids have decent clothes to wear? Do they have boots or a belt? Pants that are long enough because they grew a foot from last year? Oops, I forgot new clothes.”
Yep, it’s stock show season.
And it arrives each year with a bang! Even though we have had animals since summer time, this event seems to sneak up on us right after the holidays and I never feel prepared.
Why do we put ourselves through this craziness? It truly is an exhausting weekend full of roller coaster emotions for kids and parents.
I can’t give you an exact answer of why we do it. It’s just what we do. We live in rural Texas. We are 4-H people. It’s what we did as kids. We enjoy animals. We joined the club and drank the kool-aid! ha
But, that is not what I want to talk about. I want to talk about something rare that I saw this weekend at the show barn.
Friday there were about two dozen kids at the barn getting animals settled, weighed in, etc. Many of the kids had not arrived, some had school and there were just a few there. That afternoon it had finally warmed up enough to be outside. The set-up crew (the dads) had brought in round bales of hay and placed them against the tarp on the open end of the barn to hold it down and keep the wind out. The hay bales were in a line down the side of the barn about 5 yards apart. Do you get the picture?
On one of my many trips to the car, I see a young man jumping from bale to bale. Sometimes he makes it with no problem, sometimes he doesn’t and slides down the side of the bale. It was a picture perfect moment, but my camera wasn’t handy at the time. (I kept telling myself I would come back and snap a picture, but I never did.) It truly was something you would see in a magazine depicting a country setting.
A little later, I saw the entire group of kids outside playing catch with some kind of a ball… I don’t even know what kind of ball it was because that is not what caught my attention.
This small group of kids was made up of all different ages, from different schools, boys and girls, playing catch…together. They were scattered all over the parking lot throwing the ball from end to end. In the background was a new kid jumping from bale to bale.
No one was on their phone.
No one was snapping a picture.
I didn’t even see anyone sitting on the side lines. They were all engaged in the game.
They were laughing, running, playing and acting like kids…even the teenagers! All different ages, playing in unison and having a blast while they were doing it.
All the hard work is really not about the animals. For me, it’s about that exact moment. Seeing your kids put down their device and interact with others and have old-fashion genuine fun and making awesome memories…that’s what it’s all about.
Everyone survived the weekend and came home fully exhausted. Some came home with ribbons and others with buckles. But, we all came home with new stories, new friends and new family memories.
That is the stock show life.