Hello Friday

There are a fraction of mothers in the world who can answer the question, “whats it like to be the mother of a cowboy?” I am one of those people.

I don’t know how I would fare as a mother of a rodeo cowboy, although I may become that at times in the future. I have often thought I could never be a mother in the stands at a rodeo watching my son ride bulls. I can’t watch strangers do that, let alone my son.

My life as the mother of a cowboy has details that many of you might guess. A porch where there is always a pair of cowboy boots lying about, chaps to find a spot for, and spurs, pairs of spurs seem to swim around our porch like goldfish at times. I do laundry that has rough looking stains due to bareback riding and I always have straw, hay, or manure in the clothes or in close proximity to our washing machine.

The thing I want to talk about though is how having a cowboy for a son is shaping the action in the house. Perhaps there are stages of that. When Morgan was a little boy he could adapt many different household items to make for himself a pretend horse. There was a lot of pretend play that happened that was fun to watch.

Lately the action has evolved. Morgan has been taking roping lessons and has had some serious roping work to do with the herd. He is motivated to get better and better. That means practice. Sometimes its outside with his roping dummy. Lately, often, like every night, it has meant he practices in the house. He has adopted a long piece of red parachute cord, created a special end on it (the technical word is Hondo) and with that he practices his roping skills as often as he can. Until yesterday there were four humans in the house besides himself, there are four dogs in the house at different times, we have all been the object of his roping passion. It seems Morgan is drawn to his rope like a magnet. Supper ends, he gets up like he is going to get ice cream, maybe he is, but he comes back with that rope. Practice begins. The dogs get the brunt of it and they are very patient. I get up to get something from the kitchen and I am roped, with about 90% accuracy. His work is actually impressive. But I am not always patient like the dogs. Mostly I am amused, because I never seem to see it coming.

I am out of time so this is it. This is what its like to be a mother of a cowboy, at least for me, right now. There is always something swirling in the air….. ropes, some exasperation, laughter and the odd swear thrown about when called for.

The day the Morgan Bayliss Roping Show found itself in Saskatoon.
Uncle Gary is a good sport.

Chapter 1 – The Tenderlands – Wow & Pride

The job of Mom-ing holds so many stages. There is nothing earth shattering about that observation but it IS so true.  The woman who once carefully color coordinated the clothing and spit bibs of her firstborn child is the same woman who will sit in a theatre this weekend and watch that same child sing, dance and act til she has my eyes streaming and my heart pounding…I predict.  The same woman who often crammed a life sized stuffed lion into the back of her vehicle on road trips sat in a fancy Regina dress shop yesterday and watched as my girl who used to adore all big cat animals, (for years and years) tried on the dress we ordered for her grade 12 graduation, there have been no mandatory lions on roadtrips for a long time.   As I experience life alongside my girls they are taking me into new territory all the time.   This is a huge reality.  It certainly is not easy.   I miss what was but these days there are big realities filling the gaps, stirring big feelings. Because this blog is so much about them they both read it over and gave me their permission to post it.

I have been wanting to write about this all week but have not had time until today.  I want to write about the words wow and pride. 

I am on a plane right now.  It was terribly hard to pull myself away from the ranch and leave Russell, Morgan and Ron with the load there.  It would have been harder to miss Gina’s debut as Fiona in Shrek the Musical.   It is extremely extremely awesome that she landed this role.  Thinking about my inner world right now I notice that I am not so much proud as I am in a state of “wow!”  I am this girls Mom!  Practically speaking, it’s because of me that this girl even exists.  When I think about sitting in the theatre watching her do her thing, thinking these thoughts, I automatically feel so connected to my ancestors.  If it’s because of my existence that she is there, it’s because of amazing people with the last name Kyle, Carlton, Tubb and Thompson that I am here and basically an amazing genetic story is unfolding  before my eyes.  And of course, that’s only half the story.  As surely as some of Gina’s music potential is the signature of my family I think of Gina’s dance ability as a gift from her Dad.  He is like a butterfly on the dance floor and embodies music in a way much more thorough than I.  The Watt, Bayliss, McIntyre and Wheeler families are on stage this weekend too.  I think Gina’s strong stage presence is a result of the example set by her Dad who pretty much every day shows up for the people and events of his day with a solid message, “I am Here!”  That’s Gina on stage.  I am not sure what my direct influence is.  I feel proud of parts of my parenting.   I always used to tell the kids, “cry until you’re done.”  I think there are subtle messages within that, about honoring feelings and trusting yourself.  I think that might impact stage work.  Anyways……how did our girl who had so little prepatory training in our little town land so well?  I am not sure but I stand in awe of it all.  When I say “wow!”, this is the story behind the word.

Gina in a role she played a few months ago, Bonnie Parker of Bonnie & Clyde fame.
My Fiona, (sounds alot like the good rock song “My Sharona”)….A character that many of us will take in this weekend, either thru the livestream or in person.  Livestream and in person tickets available at tickets.ccpacanada.com

Jill…..my grade 12 graduate.  This week she brought me such feelings of pride.  She has had a hard couple of years.  Was it Covid in the world, the fast loss of her Nana, regular growing up challenges, coming to terms with her orientation in life, or other things, or a combination?   Likely a combination.   She has been struggling to work it through and it has not been easy.  

On the weekend she participated in the recital for her dance school.  I was so impressed with her.   Having missed a couple recent classes and not feeling super comfortable in her costumes she was uneasy as the day began.  She did what was within her control and showed up.   Her makeup was perfect, her smile bright, her presence strong and confident.   Any parent who has stood near as their teen struggled knows the behind closed doors side of adolescence.  It’s literally painful for all involved.  I think for me, its knowing that side of things that makes those feelings of pride so vivid.  Maybe too there is a connection to my own times of struggle.  I can appreciate what it takes to show up and be strong.  As I assign the word “proud” to how I feel about being Jill’s Mom  this week I think it’s because this stuff she is tackling is the big stuff.  Are you going to be proud of who you are?  Yes!  Are you going to be yourself?  Yes!  Are you going to claim your unique place in the world? Yes!  Are you going to show up for your team?  Yes!  Are you going to do this even when it’s hard?  Yes! In those moments it was all there, not perfect, but all I could have wanted.  I couldn’t talk with Jill about this afterwards without welling up.  I was so so proud of her.  Another piece of the pride puzzle happened a couple days later when at her student led conference her teacher told me “Jill always says hello and goodbye, she asks how I am and tells me have a good weekend, it makes a difference, she is sweet.”  Jill, are you going to try and really see the humans in your life?  This teacher feedback says yes!  Russ and I are so proud.

Jill can carry alot on her shoulders, literally and otherwise.

So Jill and Gina have been leading me into heart-filled places. 

It was touching to see them together again when we grabbed Gina from the theatre at lunch time today.

A Jill anecdote….  In the later hours of our 94 hour power outage I said an absolutely ridiculous thing to my friend Jackie.  I told the guys what I said.  Morgan then told Jill and he reported back to me that Jill said, “JUST when you think your mother is normal she says THAT!”   It was all so fun.

Jill has always been zesty, so when we stood on the same bridge featured in this March picture, she dreamed up this photoshop project and had it done before I knew what she was up to.   Obvious but fun!

Gina is in a position to help me.  During the power outage we were talking on the phone about the blog.  I was doubting myself.  She said, “Mom its your blog, it’s your voice, you can says what you need to say.”  I needed to hear that.  That is the reason I decided to initiate this series on the blog.  Being analytical and talking about innerstuff is who I am.  If my graduating daughter can rise to the challenge of “are you going to claim your unique place in the world?” With the answer “yes!”  Surely I can too.  I mean the calves are cute and everything but …..

But what?

There are tenderlands within and I like visiting there.

So until chapter 2 emerges….

….you  can find me at the edge of the Tenderlands in Shrek’s swamp and forest.