When I was a kid, Pony Club wasn’t for the faint of heart. You can tell just by the “high quality” of the trailers in the background of my photo that we were all a little more rough and tumble back then. I think that’s part of why those years were some of the best of my life. They weren’t always fun (sometimes they were downright terrifying), but they absolutely shaped me into the person that I am now.
I tended to be more timid as a child (a trait I still am working on to this day) and when the other kids were excited to race their ponies over the biggest and scariest jumps I was always at the back of the pack hoping something would happen so I wouldn’t have to do it. And yet, always so happy when I did.
Part of the reason for being afraid was that I was younger than a lot of the other kids, part of it was just my nature. However, those big kids seemed to follow the rule “leave no man behind ” (or blubbering child as the case may be) and there was no way I was going to be able to bypass any of the jumps out on the cross country course.
I remember sitting on my pony Snowflake, crying my eyes out because I was so scared, and my cousin (in the photo with me) racing by on her horse yelling to stop being such a coward and to get in and join them. Then, the next girl tearing by, whose last name was Coward yelling that they’d better find a better name to call me since she was going over the jump. Not wanting to look like a total wimp, and not wanting to get left behind I sucked up all the courage I had and raced after them. And of course, ended up having the time of my life.
Being able to find courage when facing a terrifying situation is something that has helped me immensely in my adult life. Not turning away from something I wanted to do, or being afraid to join the fun was also an important life lesson I learned.
I remember watching her flying around the cross country course, smiling from ear to ear, hanging on for dear life aboard her horse Monkey (well named considering how they were together) and knowing that soon my turn was coming. Just about everything I know about having to dig deep and then soar I learned with this girl out in these fields.
You just never know where your path is going to take you in life, or how chapters are going to be written in your book. This incredibly strong, funny, amazing, brave, fierce woman has had most of her memories stolen from her by one of those cruel twists of fate. It’s horrible at any age, but she is just too young and too full of life.
I went to visit her today, for the first time in about a year and a half. I was touched to the core of my being that she remembered who I was, and thrilled that there is still some of her old spunk shining through her eyes. That spunk that propelled me through much of my childhood.
These memories are precious. They are ones that I will carry in my heart for the rest of my life.
My aunt picked me up to go in to town and visit my cousin (well really she’s a second cousin, and my mom and her dad are first cousins – but it’s all the same to me) I was touched that she would bring me in. I’m sure a lot of it was to make sure I wasn’t uncomfortable and that the visit went smoothly. We ended up having a wonderful visit. I also hadn’t seen her in a year and a half, and it had been many years gone by before that. We visited a little about old times, but mostly it was about things now – family, life in general, some about my cousin. We did a lot of laughing. Full out, head back, laughing. That was my happiness moment for the day, new memories and old memories all being stored in the heart.