It’s Mother’s Day 2018, and I am sitting in my pickup trying to stay warm. At a high school rodeo.
Not any shocker. The last ten years, every Mother’s Day has been spent in similar fashion.
Do I mind? Not really. Only when my ex doesn’t bring my son to my house after the rodeo is over. A couple years in a row, he opted to take Garris with him, one year to take calves to the stock yards. And last year, to Dillon. In fact, last year, Garris didn’t spend a single minute with me on my day.
That’s when I told them both that wasn’t going to happen again. I understand that there is always a rodeo. But once he’s done with his events, Garris is supposed to spend the rest of the day with me. I’m not sure why my ex thought it was okay to interfere with Mother’s Day.
This year, Garris told me he wanted me to come to his rodeo, and then he’ll go home with me.
As a rodeo mom, Mother’s Day is an interesting holiday. I feel like I earn the holiday all year long. I love the life I have. I love that my boys have the rodeo bug. I love that we spend such a large amount of time in and around arenas. I love that we are part of a bigger family of rodeo folks. I wouldn’t trade my moniker as rodeo mom for any other.
I also feel like we moms put in a great deal of effort to get our kiddos to this point. Yes, dads tend to foot the bills for horses and practice cattle and entry fees. But in my case, my kids had great rodeo horses because of me and because of my folks.
I spent hours and hours every summer teaching my kids how to ride. How to rope. How to run the barrels and poles patterns. For me, horsemanship was the most important lesson they learned. Only after that, did they get to move on to actual rodeo events.
And when my boys first started competing, I was usually the one who hauled them. I helped them get their horses cleaned and saddled. I helped them get mentally prepared for each of their events. And again, I wouldn’t trade any of those things.
But sometimes moms get overlooked when kids start listing the people who helped them. It happened to me. A couple of years ago, Garris did a newspaper interview before he went to his national rodeo. When asked about who helped him the most, he immediately answered his dad. Later, I called Garris out on that. He was thinking only of the previous year. He wasn’t thinking about all the years from the time he was three years old and who had been with him all of that time.
When he realized what he had done and how badly he hurt my feelings, he gave me a hug and told me how sorry he was. I’m not trying to make myself more important than his dad or than anyone. But I think it’s important that he recognize the time and effort I’ve put in getting him to the point where he can compete as a freshman against older kids.
Rodeo moms, take heart! Our kids do appreciate what we give them and what we offer. It’s just sometimes not in their foremost thought. After all, we just always step up and do what they need us to do. We give everything we have to them, without asking anything in return.
So, sometimes they do need a little reminder about all the support they get from their moms.
We take videos. We cheer. We order pictures from the photographer. We offer hugs when runs don’t go well. We offer a high five or a fist when the runs go well. We listen to their successes and to their misery.
When my oldest son was as senior in high school, his state rodeo did not go well. He had been roping calves really well all spring, but he had two long times at state, which eliminated any possibility of going to Nationals. He was sitting at the trailer, absorbing the moment. I sat down beside him, told him there was nothing I could say to make things better, so I just gave him a good hug. We sat there for several minutes, until he was ready to face the world again.
I salute all the rodeo moms who, like me, sit through rain and sun, snow and wind, good runs and bad, to continue propping up our kids in order to help them be the best people they can be. There will come a day in the future when I won’t be sitting at a rodeo on Mother’s Day. I’m not sure I’ll know what to do when that day comes. Maybe by that point, I’ll be watching grandkids instead of kids.
Happy Mother’s Day!!!