Prior to having kids, whenever I had a trying day at work, I would crack open a beer and enjoy it. Heck, maybe have more than one – sometimes on the porch by myself. In 2009, when I was planning my wedding, there was more than a few Friday nights spent with a friend at a local dive enjoying a pitcher of beer (or several). Even after the wedding was over we’d still go for beers. Her simple text message would read “Beers?” I miss those.
Now that I’m older and a mother of two small children, it’s hard to enjoy beer. Mostly because if my husband is gone and I’m hung over, it will be NO fun to care for a 3-year-old and a 3.5 month old with a splitting headache and nausea. Nope not doing it. My other reason for limiting beer came just the other day. I was enjoying a beer with my supper when my 3-year-old son said, “Mom are you drinking beer?” Yes son, it’s a beer. “You can’t drink beer. That’s Dad’s.” I looked at his father and just shook my head and replied, “Shaun, I can drink beer if I want!” Sometimes it’s not worth the argument with an insistent 3-year-old.
I used to drink a couple of times a month with friends. We’d go have supper and beers then go somewhere to let our hair down. I’d come home whenever I dang well pleased. Recently, I went with those same friends to a red dirt band here in town, and by 11:30, I was ready to go home. Mostly because it was so incredibly loud in there (am I really that old?), but because I knew my husband had to work the next day, and the boys would be my responsibility. I did however stay for a couple more hours and got to bed at 1:30, and the youngest woke me up at 4 a.m., to remind me I was still his mother.
Now that I don’t have that easy of an outlet to let out my anger and frustrations with life, it shows up in other ways. Passive-aggressive social media posts get those negative thoughts out and let me commiserate with others in my circles. I trade text messages with my sister and a couple other friends to get the crappy thoughts out otherwise I just might explode. And then there are my blog posts.
But, every now and then I will have that cold Coors Light, Shaun.
Maybe you could call it a mid-life crisis, or maybe it’s an identity crisis. Not sure what I want to call it, but lately I’ve been struggling. Struggling with who I am and what I want to be. Work is the same, and I enjoy going to work every day. At home, it’s harder. I have a 3-year-old and a 3 month old. It can be a challenge since my husband works 40 miles away and has farm chores down south after he finishes at his full-time job. Quite a bit of the time, it’s just me and the boys.
Flash back 5, 10 or even 15 years ago, and you would find me a lot more selfish than I am now. I was concerned with was what rodeo or barrel race was next and how I’d spend my next paycheck. As much as I hate to admit it, my horse was my number one priority. I can think of a dozen or more times where I spent my last dime to buy feed, a needed supplement or pay an entry fee. There was more than one occasion where I skipped a family function to go to a barrel race or a rodeo. There was more than one time when I went by myself because no one else wanted to go with me.
Now I’m lucky if I get to ride my horse once a week. Twice is a stretch sometimes. I sometimes have a willing babysitter, but I don’t always want to extend her too much. Other times I just don’t have the motivation to line up the babysitter, distract the 3-year-old and take the half our to ride and enjoy it. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy riding and competing. You can bet your sweet ass I miss the adrenaline rush. I guess that’s part of my problem. For so long, barrel racing defined me. And now I’m not that person. Sometimes I don’t like it. I haven’t competed since September and I’m missing it. Bad.
Back when my horse was ten years younger it killed me to miss a race. I absolutely hated sitting at home. Now, I live vicariously through those who still get to go. My mare’s 22 and she’s got bad knees and ankles. Sure I’d like to run her again, but at the rate I’m going she’ll be 23 before we go to another barrel race. That is if I ever get off my ass and ride.
I ran across this on a friend’s Facebook today, and found it way too appropriate. I need to stop waiting and just do it.
On Sunday we only had a 30 percent chance of rain. In our part of Kansas, that normally means 70 percent chance we won’t see a drop. The day before I had joked with my dad after he had mowed our yard for us, that it looked so nice that we just needed a nice rain to make it look even better! And I do believe I got what I’d wished for.
When the first storm came through it was looking like it was going to be another disappointment because as quick as the storm built up and moved on, we only got enough to get everything wet with big fat raindrops. About an hour later as we were trying to leave to go feed cows, another storm came. This one brought some heavy rain and a few hailstones. Once it had passed we loaded in the pickup and tried to head south. We only made it down the road a couple of miles before we had to stop and wait it out. I cringed hearing the hailstones hit the outside of my pickup. Finally it let up enough to safely drive. The farther south we got, the less rain there was. At one point, we could see the next storm rolling in, and even witnessed a few rope tornadoes forming and quickly spinning out. By the time we got to Clark County the road was dry and it hadn’t rained a drop at the farm. By the time we’d finished chores there it was starting to sprinkle. So we had hope for rain there.
Since it was Mother’s Day we decided on our way back home that we’d stop for supper in town. As soon as we pulled into the parking lot of the restaurant, it started raining. It rained some more, hailed a little and blew like crazy. Not thinking much of it, we headed home and when we headed north we were astonished by how much rain had collected in the ditches and was running off fields. At the house we found some hail damage on the house, and a lot of water, but everything was still safe.
I went out to check the horses and they all looked no worse for the wear. As I was shutting the gate to their pen I looked at the ground. I found a pretty good-sized hailstone stuck in the mud, and a few more as I walked to the house. They were pretty decent sized for being out there for a while after the last storm. Shaun was intrigued by the hailstones and wanted to eat them.. I had to explain to him what they were and that they really shouldn’t be eaten!
Collection of hailstones from May 11, 2014.
My oldest son will be 3 tomorrow. Hard to believe it’s been 3 years already, but don’t all parents say that? Heck, our youngest turned 3 months old on the sixth. Now that is hard to believe! Where have the last 3 months gone? But, that’s not the point of my post today.
I believe my oldest boy has the vocabulary he does is because he is around adults 80 percent of the time. And the fact the talks ALL the time could be part of it too. I swear that kid has been stringing complete sentences together since he started talking. I really should start writing down some of the things he says, but I never do, and when I do want to write them down, I have forgotten.
Last night it was getting late, and I hadn’t made any supper yet. My husband and I were trying to figure out what to make with what we had in the house and were to the point of giving up. Shaun was playing with an old cell phone and eventually brought the phone to his dad. What he asked next about melted my heart. He asked his Dad to call his Dad because he wanted to talk to him. For those of you who don’t know about Steve, I’ve written about him a few times and he holds a very special place in our hearts. My husband flashed me a look and played along, pretending that he was talking to his Dad on the phone. It was pretty cute and I about had to leave the room for a good cry. But I smiled and thought how good it was of an almost three-year-old boy to ask about his Grandpa that he really never got to know.
This morning Shaun told me to put both of my hands on the steering wheel. I turned and looked at him and asked why? His reply, Because! I asked, “Am I scaring you?” Yes.. Oh boy.. I think I’m in for it!
Shaun with his Grandpa Scott in August 2011.