Although I have ridden a few times since then, it's been many years since I've actually taken horseback riding lessons. (Dare I say close to 20?) One of Steve's arguments, or should I say "incentives", for moving to Iowa is the close proximity to the countryside - and horses. I took his argument seriously and yesterday I took the first of what I hope will be many more lessons. Meet "Arthur".
I arrived at the stable (Wyndtree Farm) and greeted by a very young lady named Winter. And I do mean young - as in 11 - and maybe 4' tall. Winter had been instructed to meet me and help me get ready for class. "I'll go get Arthur" she said. The next thing I knew she was leading this HUGE horse (16+ hands) down the center aisle. I'm not sure these photos do him justice. Just trust me when I say "huge". It was rather comical watching this supremely confident, tiny young lady handle this gentle giant. Tossing the saddle pad on his back was a huge stretch for her. I assisted with the saddle. It was the least I could do.
I'm pleased to say the lesson was uneventful and most delightful (thank you, Denise!) My form, it turns out, was not too bad after all these years, or so I was told. Holding it took some effort, however. Never mind. I look forward to working on it!
Photo descriptions: Arthur is a dapple-gray gelding, 16+ hands. I was told he's part Percheron, part Thoroughbred. In the top photo I am standing by his right shoulder, an indication as to just how big he is (I'm 5' 2"). In the bottom left photo we see him standing alone.
Tomorrow (Thursday) I'm driving to Iowa City to meet with Steve and friends. Since we have a potential buyer for our house it's time we start looking for a place to call our own in Iowa.
Wow. Still not used to that.
We're entering Phase II of our transition to Iowa today. I'm driving Steve, Vidal, and "stuff" to Iowa City where they will stay with friends (dear friends) while I come back to Ohio to sell our house. (Phase I was moving Ross, our 18 year old, into his own place...)
I guess it's too early in the morning to sort through my thoughts. Or perhaps I'm just feeling numb.
Happy birthday to my favorite - my one and only - daughter, Tara. (She's the young lady on the right.)
Why just last night someone said to me "you don't look old enough to have a 21 year old daughter!" Steve said the gentleman was just flirting with me.
Leave it to a husband (my husband) to spoil the moment.
I'll post a photo of Tara once I'm back home.
Steve is home from New Hampshire (as of three days ago). Today we are off to the Chautauqua Institution in upstate New York.
It's our first "date" as empty nesters - a mini-vacation of sorts. Well at least for me. Steve may have an audience of 500 to 1,000 people to entertain Thursday afternoon. As for me, I just have to get him there. My work is then done.
My how time flies!
Ross survived the removal of all four wisdom teeth. I was glad, quite frankly, that he did his recovering at his own place. Oh I'd stop by a couple of times a day with mashed potatoes, pudding or applesauce, but once the moaning and complaining started, directed at me of course, I was able to say, "see you later Ross"
and walk out. How liberating.
Ross sees a counselor a couple of times a month as for a while he seemed to be dealing with some anxiety issues.
This evening I suggested to him that next time he sees Andy, perhaps he (Ross) could inquire as to whether or not Andy had an hour in his schedule to see me. (Naturally I want to make sure Ross is as "OK" with the idea of Steve and I moving to Iowa as he can be. Perhaps this is harder on me than it is him. So what if I want to talk about it. I'm entitled don't you think?)
"Oh Mom. Andy doesn't want to sit and watch you cry for an hour!"
"I will not cry for an hour!"
"Yes you will." Ross is now grossly exaggerating the amount of crying I did do a week ago in anticipation, I think, of The Big Cry.
Is this good or bad I wonder? Will he feel ready for The Big Cry when the time comes or is he experiencing anxiety just thinking about it? Probably a little of both.
Just like his mother.
Ross stopped by this evening. He doesn't yet have internet connection in his apartment so he's left his laptop here. It's as good an excuse as any don't you think?
On his way out the door for the night we had this exchange:
"Mom, are you crying again?"
"No Ross, actually I'm not. I'm smiling. Are you?"
"No. When are you planning on moving?"
"Don't know yet. That has yet to be determined. But I can say you're stuck with me for at least a couple of months."
"Oh good. I can mooch some more money off you then."
"Don't count on it."
"I'm afraid of those big tears..."
"What, you mean the BIG CRY?"
"Yeah. What the hell is that? Love ya. Bye."
Tomorrow I have to pick him up at 7:30 a.m. He's having surgery to have all four wisdom teeth removed.
It's good to feel needed, for now anyway.
Don't worry, I'm not going to do this every night...
Ross invited me to dinner to show me the progress he's made on his apartment. "Would you mind bringing either a pizza or some Chinese food? Please?"
By golly he has made progress in that apartment. He lined the shelves in the kitchen as I had suggested. He purchased a tablecloth for the table and even had the table set by the time I arrived. There's a masculine looking candle arrangement on the corner end table, some "art work" I hadn't seen before. Boxes are neatly stacked in the storage closet. The shower curtain is up. He served me dinner. We chatted.
He looks very tired and too skinny.
"You're not going to cry are you Mom?" He revealed that last night he did, just a little.
"You are crying!"
"No I'm not."
"Yes you are!"
"OK, but just remember, I'm saving the BIG CRY" (for when I leave for Iowa).
"What? You mean this isn't the BIG CRY? MOM, what are you DOING to me!?"
It was time for me to leave. I planted a big kiss on the top of his head and reminded him I love him.
He held his own, at least until after I left.
That's right; it's official. Today I am an empty nester. It is the first day of the rest of my life.
Child # Two, my son, my baby, moved out yesterday. With the help of three friends he's moved to an apartment in town. Steve and I are moving to Iowa City. Ross wants to stay or so he thinks. I think I'm OK with it. Kinda sorta.
I went to bed last night as I usually do and as usual, Ross was not home. I felt a little weepy but I think I was too tired. My head hit the pillow and out I went. The next thing I knew there was a knock on the door. "I just came by to pick up a few things" he said followed by "I miss you already".
He stopped by again early this morning and just a little while ago we spoke and he said he'd swing by again. More stuff to pick up I suppose.
It's a good thing because Maggie, our Golden Retriever, is lying by the door waiting for him as she does every night. I think she may be suffering from empty nest syndrome.
As for me, I don't know yet. I'll have to get back to you on that one.
Photo description: This is Ross' senior high school portrait photo. It was taken outdoors; there is a tree in the background. He's wearing a black sweater and he's leaning forward ever so slightly against a railing we can't see. He's got dark brown hair, blue eyes and although you can't see them in the photo, long eyelashes to die for.