Oh the lessons to be learned from kids at the Avon Fat Steer Show…
I cannot even put into words how much I love the steer show. It is one of the most exhausting weeks of the entire year, but so worth it that I actually found myself thinking through things for next year the very day after it closed this year. Watching our kids enjoy themselves with friends, working with animals and watching other kids do the same, it brings a joy to my heart that spills over through the tears in my eyes.
These are joyful tears; tears of thankfulness that we are blessed enough to live here in this place, in this time, where people come together to reconnect with old friends and make new ones, to help one another, and to invest in the youth of community. And this rubs off on the kids. I’ve seen it with my own eyes: older, more experienced kids, helping younger ones get their calf’s foot out of the water bucket; retiring 4H kids teaching preschoolers how to walk a bucket calf; and peers encouraging one another to get in the ring and giving a pat on the back after a tough loss. Yes, we are so very blessed, and so are our kids.
There are several moments that stand out in my mind over the last week, but one that hits closest to home is from the chicken scrambles. Ben is TERRIFIED of chickens even though we have some. Seriously, we’ve never even gotten him in the ring without great protest. I shoot the scrambles for the committee each year, so I rely heavily on our older kids to help with Ben and Ali during this time. Rob (15) had them this year and quickly locked into the gem that Ben’s buddy, Briar, would be in getting the goal accomplished.
While the 5-year-old girls were doing their thing, Rob took Ben to the gate so he would be ready when they called the boys. Rob saw Briar and paired the two so Ben would not have to go in alone. Briar took Ben’s hand & said, “C’mon, let’s do this!”
Remember, they are 5 and Ben is stop-in-your-tracks TERRIFIED of chickens. He still never touched one, but he went in the ring and giggled away while the other boys did their thing.
That little Briar (and his whole family for that matter) has this momma’s heart on a string. I used to think he was such a great friend to Ben, even when Ben didn’t know how to be a friend back. But then it dawned on me, you don’t have to know how to be a friend. You just follow your heart and the friendship happens. Friendship at the age of 5 isn’t something you work at, it’s something you are blessed with. And the blessings flow to the entire family, and broadening the scope, throughout communities.
This morning, all five of our kids boarded the big yellow bus for the first day of school. It’s the first of many today: Ali’s first day of preschool; Ben’s first day of kindergarten; Tom and Jac’s first day of middle school; and while Rob is a sophomore, it’s his first day in a new school, on a new campus; and the first day for our new consolidated school district.
It’s only natural there will be many bumps in the road over the course of the next year as all the details get ironed out on how to bring two communities together into one school district, but if our experiences with the middle two playing summer ball with Abingdon kids is any indication, we are in for great things!! There wasn’t any “us” and “them.” It was only “we.”
We made some new friends at the various ballparks this summer and somewhere along the way, we became a family. The schools’ open houses over the last couple of weeks only confirmed that as we were greeted multiple times by ballpark families. There is so much good going on right now, I can hardly contain my excitement for our kids. And, even better, they are excited. All five went to the bus happily this morning, with a collective “C’mon, let’s do this!” attitude. And that’s another blessing I just can’t overlook.