Someday you will sit in your cozy home in the dead of winter and dream out a coming of age trip to take with your twelve year old daughter, who is completely, totally horse-obsessed. You will google “big horse shows in America” because you clearly know what you are doing. And the first thing to pop up, the only thing actually, is the Rolex Kentucky 3 Day Event, dubbed “the best weekend of the year”. You will notice on the pull down menu that there is a clamping option. It speaks of yurts dotting a field while horses graze nearby. It mentions portable toilets but your husband, who is in construction and knows these things, will convince you to book it saying that for the kind of money they are asking, they will roll in one of those fancy portable bathrooms with marble counters and an attendant who does everything but wipe your ass. That, added to the yurt, makes it all seem very Abercrombie and Kent and you are convinced. This, after all, is Lexington with her rolling green hills and miles of black fences. It has to be great.
You have a long enough drive down that you finish the entire sex ed curriculum you’ve brought and, unlike her brothers, your daughter is completely oblivious and not at all afraid to ask questions. You will have sweat in your bra by the time you pull in. You will get out of your car to be met by a man named Tad, who seems to know very little about this whole program beyond the tent he personally set up. Which is very much not a yurt. He will show you to the porta potty, which are the exact same kind your husband, who you intensely dislike for a split second, has on all his job sites. You say to Tad, Uh uh, homey don’t play that. Your daughter will turn to you and ask if she’s heard you correctly. She has.
Someday you might find yourself waking up in a tent someone sold you on by calling it a yurt, sweaters coating your teeth and nose frozen from the cold morning air. You will roll out of bed, which in their defense is an actual bed with linens and a blanket you get to keep. You will have it piled up with blankets like you’re Laura Ingalls going to bed during the Long Winter. The weight of all those blankets will help you drift off, even as the lively party going on two tents away fights to keep you awake and sort of pissed off. There will be a blue porta potty so close you’re calling it an ensuite. You will fall asleep and wake up to the cacophony of it’s door slamming over and over as you lay in bed, trying not to imagine how high the pile of human refuse is getting. The tent will smell like your grandpa’s army bag from the 2nd world war and will be dotted with teeny flecks of mildew, but nothing beyond what you would expect from a well-used tent. On your second night, you will become a total thorn in someone’s butt when you request to move further from the toilets and the partyers and, while they are at it, could they make it the double bed you originally requested so you and your girl can snuggle up? The wifi you’ve been promised that led to dreams of resting tired legs and dusty feet while watching Anne of Green Gables all snuggled up doesn’t work, so you will drive to a book store so that your daughter doesn’t have to fall asleep reading the program for the event you’ve taken her to. You will feel a bit wary of the whole thing and all the ways it’s fallen short, even as you feel guilty for it. And then on your way home from the bookstore, eyes almost closed as you drive, you will get a text from your love saying that you have unlimited data and you will find the battery packs you had misplaced and so you will crawl into your cozy nest, slippers on and hoods pulled up, and watch her show with her, even though it’s so dumb, you think you might actually become dumb because you are watching it. You will make it through exactly one point three episodes before you drift off, holding hands under the blanket mountain.
Someday you will wake up be to a whole new view because it’s cross country day and the entire state of Kentucky has shown up to tailgate for it. There will be golf carts buzzing back and forth as you make your way to and from the porta potty and while you brush your teeth with Smart water in your front yard. You will feel a buzz of excitement and you will think that there is nowhere on earth you’d rather be than right there, right then. You will tell her that. You will say, there are about a million things I could be doing right now, but this is the best thing I can imagine doing. This watching horses fly down the straits and over impossible jumps while the sun paints freckles on her face and the thrill of it all leaves us both a little breathless. She will be wearing a hat you’ve stood for hours in lines for, waiting for the heroes of her sport to sign it for her, knowing that each signature is gold to her. She will also be wearing the same sweatshirt and pants she’s worn for three days and you will remind yourself to maybe just burn them when you get home.
Someday you might have the chance to take your kid on an adventure, just you two. It might take you far out of your comfort zone. It might include porta potties and a shower house with a hairball so big you ask your fellow bathers if anyone is missing their dog. Doing this with them will not make you a hero. This is what you actually signed on for. Not to just bring them along on your adventures, but to willingly take off on theirs. It might include horses and walking nearly 30 miles in 2.5 days and that’s ok because it’s not about you, it’s about them. Now, I’m not a numbers gal, but I promise you that it will be a solid investment into their hearts. They will sit someday in a sun puddle, maybe far from home, and will remember how you did this with them and they will feel loved. They will hold their own babies and commit to having adventures with them that feed the soul and heart. And maybe it’ll be well within your comfort zone (grant-posh ski resort in winter park) and maybe it won’t (Peter-scuba diving in Florida), but it will send the message that what is important to them is important to you too. And even though I shudder, truly I do, to think what hair-brained, half cocked adventure Lulu will cook up for us, I’m all in. And I will come here, to Judith, at the end and tell you all about it because
this is me being real.