Luke has been working hard in exchange for his horse lessons lately. I believe it was no coincidence in May when his horse teacher asked if he would like to mow his lawn. Upon seeing what a thorough, and complete job Luke did (with some assistance from Mike), he offered to trade the lessons for mowing straight across. It was an answer to a yet unspoken prayer, as horse lessons would probably have had to otherwise take a back seat financially.
Now it is summer, and Luke has been invited to go down and ride whenever he would like. He saddles up the horse himself and has spent many an hour riding on the trails by the arena, and around the arena itself.
Luke was invited to participate in a horse show last week. Mike and I were not too keen to fit it into the family schedule or finances this time around, but his teacher really wanted him to, and we made arrangements for it to happen. Luke earned part of his entry fee by laying sod at a good friend's house.
The thrill in his voice when he called to tell me he got "A first place, two seconds and a third" were nothing compared to the obvious thrill as he declared next, "I won a halter!" That boy was pretty darn close to cloud nine!
Our current situation lends itself quite well to Luke not feeling a sense of entitlement to what he participates in. He works hard, he plays hard, and hopefully along the way he's learning some life-long lessons.
Each time I go to the horse stalls and find Luke packing up the horse for the day, my senses are heightened by the smells and sounds of my surroundings. One day it will probably seem more normal, but it is still so far from what Mike and I would ever have imagined for our child, that it almost seems fictitious that this is really my son. Yet those smells and sounds that have become so frequent in my life, have slowly yet surely endeared me to this fancy.
Today, I followed Luke through the stalls--he was unaware I was there as he walked ahead of the horse. I was touched by Luke's interaction with the horse. I felt as though I was intruding on his life, interrupting a magical moment, encroaching on the bond between him and a borrowed horse. So after snapping a few pictures (with my cell phone), I let my presence known.
Hard-earned lessons, gifted saddles, borrowed horses, and prized halters are pretty high on Luke's favorite things list. I hope he adds to the list, his sister who was exuding pride as she carried the (quite heavy) saddle to the car for Luke while he finished up a final task.