Josie and me in a clinic with Melissa Allen at Alta Vista Farm.
Three Generations of Women
My grandmother moved in with my mother when I was young. Two sets of hands to raise a young child were better than one, as well as two incomes. My grandmother cleaned houses and my mother held a teaching position along with multiple part time jobs. They both worked hard to make sure I was provided for and well dressed. We shopped at upscale second hand stores for clothes as a growing child didn’t keep the same wardrobe for long. I remember my grandmother’s way of budgeting was putting money into weekly labeled envelopes to make sure all our bills were paid.
The budget some how always included my riding lessons, horse camp and a few day trips to the beach during the summer. It was their resourcefulness with money that taught me the value of budgeting.
Choices, Choices, Choices
We lived in a trailer park. One of many in our school district. Mine was supposed to be the nicest out of the group. There were plenty of kind neighbors, but it also had it’s rough crowd. The kids on our bus were so difficult that if our main bus driver (she was a pretty tough lady!) was out sick, the only one willing to sub for her was the owner of the bus company. Man, the stories I could tell of the time spent on that bus! How our bus driver did not lose her sanity, I’ll never know.
My mother and grandmother were extremely concerned that I would wander down the wrong path and ruin my future. It was justified. School always came first and I had a strict curfew – home by dark. The further I got into my teen years, the more defiant I became against the boundaries that had been laid out for me.
Like a book that allows you to choose your own ending, I was making choices along my way that tended to be impulsive with only my teenage wisdom to guide me. One of these choices is forever engrained into my memory.
I had been offered to ride with a group of “cool kids” from the trailer park to go to the carnival. Knowing this would be a hard no from my mother, as she had no idea who they were, I devised a plan. I told her I was going to my best friend’s house on the next street and would be back later. In my young naïve mind, it never occurred to me to tell my best friend what I was doing nor did I consider the potential of what could have gone wrong and the major trouble I would get into if I was caught!
My entire plan back fired when my best friend came to my house asking if I could come over. Busted. I can only imagine the panic that consumed my mother not knowing where I was and the anger she felt that I had lied to her.
The carnival was closed when we arrived. I had asked to be taken back home, but “Chris” who had driven us, would not concede. Enter a bit of panic here on my end.
Chris wanted to walk around downtown and I thought I had no choice but to go with them. It still had not crossed mind that my plan had failed and my mother was on the war path hunting me down. I was just wondering how I was going to get back home. This was the 90s folks. I had no cell phone. I could use a pay phone, but I had no money. And no one in my group of friends was old enough to drive. And I definitely was not calling my mother to come get me.
I will never forget the moment as we are walking down the street when I heard my mother’s voice demanding I get in the car. I got that horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach and knew that this was going to be bad. None of my cool new friends tried to help. Oh man, I was in so much trouble. We went to the nearest gas station and she told me to get out of the car. She came around to meet me and slapped me across the face. This was the first and only time in my entire life she had ever hit me. I was absolutely stunned.
My mother was still on her mission to ensure her daughter was not going to end up 16 and pregnant. Once we got home. she looked up Chris’s parents in our phone book and dialed his number. Hell hath no fury like a mother trying to protect her only child. She proceeded to enlighten his mother on the recent events and demanded that I was never to be in a car with him again. I was so humiliated. Chris avoided me like the plague. My chance at being popular was crushed. I was furious at my mother and could only see things from my side. Did she not see that she ruined my chance to be cool? I don’t remember how long I was grounded for that stunt, but I’m sure I was not allowed to do much for a decent period of time.
Keep checking back for weekly updates on “It’s My Life”, reviews on exploring the Dressage Today OnDemand website, and coming soon will be a section to document my progress with Josie as we move up the levels!
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