With the holidays in full swing, it is bringing back lots of wonderful memories with family along with a bit of melancholy thinking about all the people who are no longer with us. However, one of my favorite things during the holiday season is the fun stories we tell each other when the family gets together.
And in the holiday spirit, I’d like to share one of those stories with you about something that happened years ago when I was a teenager.
My mother and I were the cooks in the family and during the holidays we went all out. I should say SHE went all out as I was just the kitchen helper. I would cut everything up and just do whatever she needed to help her manage all the dishes she was making.
In preparation for one of our festive family dinners, my mother and I went to the grocery store to shop for all the ingredients. While there I noticed how pushy and grumpy a lot of the people were. I guess the holidays bring this out in some people.
I loved when we did things together, even if it was just shopping for food. Well, mom and I were in the bread aisle getting rolls for dinner and bread for after-the-holiday turkey sandwiches. Yummy!
And there was a mother and her child and an older couple there with us. The child was screaming and crying, her mother was at wit’s end and angry with the child, and the older couple was judgmental and grumpy about the whole thing.
Now you’d think that everyone was just thinking about getting what they needed and getting away. They probably were, but not my mother. She was always trying to help others in any way she could. I could see that mischievous smile she had and I knew she had thought of something.
She told me to go to the end of the aisle, right past the child in the shopping cart screaming. Once I was there, she yelled “food fight” and she threw a bag of rolls at me. She winked at me and smiled. I had a loaf of bread in my hands and I threw it to my mother over the child.
We then started to laugh and we threw each other the rolls and the bread a few times. It was more like playing catch with about 4-5 bags of bread. Then she threw one to the child in the cart and the little girl stopped crying and started laughing. Then she threw it back to my mom. Then the giggling started.
The child’s mother looked extremely relieved and she started to laugh too. A sigh of relief came over her. The older woman still looked disgusted, but her husband started laughing and he even picked up a bag of bread from the floor and threw it over to me.
This only lasted for about 5 minutes, but it changed the entire feeling of everyone there. The older couple walked away, chuckling. The child was now happy and laughing and her mother walked past my mother and said, “thank you”. She now had a new outlook on the rest of her day.
My mom and I picked up the bread, put it in our cart, and continued all our shopping. But she and I had an even better outlook on our day and a great story and experience that brought us even closer. It was fun.
Just that one little thing that took only 5 minutes has given me years of smiling and gave me another thing to love about my mother. She knew how to make someone else smile and how to help that poor mother who couldn’t get her child to stop screaming. Her only purpose was to help that mother by helping her child. And in turn, she helped a few others like that older man and me have a better day.
We laughed and we giggled about it the rest of the day. And isn’t that at the end of the day what it’s all about? It’s having fun, helping others, and enjoying life?
This memory reminds me that as adults we don’t always have to be about work and going through life project to project all the time. We need to take time to have fun and act like a child sometimes. It is not only good for our well-being, but also for those around us.
You can have this with your horse as well. It doesn’t always have to be about “getting the job done”, riding, working, or training. Your horse needs to have fun with you too and play.
It’s so funny when I tell students to go sit with their horses and enjoy just spending time with them doing nothing. It is a foreign concept to do nothing with a horse. They always tell me that they want to be riding, moving, or doing something. It is so hard for them to just relax and be with their horse quietly.
But when they finally settle into this, they can’t get enough of it. It opens their world up to so many amazing things that they never would have seen if they hadn’t slowed down enough. It turns into something that is fun for them and their horse. Yes, it can be fun to do nothing and observe what’s going on around you.
I want to encourage you to have fun with life and with your horse. To look at doing the little things that can create that memory for yourself, your loved ones, and the people around you that you care about. Even your horse.
Have some fun with it and put it into perspective that it’s not all seriousness. It’s not all stress around the holidays. Take some time to enjoy yourself and your horse. I want to encourage you to know that it’s okay to have fun with things even if everything’s not going as planned or is not as smooth as you may start out wanting it to be. Just look for ways to embrace what’s around you and have fun with it.