I’m a week late posting this, but I wanted to share Emily’s birthday weekend with you all. It was a fun packed weekend, indeed! Admittedly, it was a bit much in one weekend for her, and we are still paying the price for letting her get overwhelmed and over stimulated. However, I would say it was worth it! She had the time of her life, and we all had a weekend we will never forget!
Friday night, we went to the RODEO! Mommy, Daddy, Bug, 2 sets of grandparents, a great grandmother, an uncle, an “aunt” and 2 cousins all came to join the excitement.
Bug had heard about a couple events that take place at the rodeo. One was the “Dash for Cash”, where every kid in the place (well over 100) all line up on the arena floor and chase a calf around trying to pull a ribbon off it’s tail.
She said she wanted to do it.
Seriously? This is my little girl who can’t stand crowds. She also takes it as a personal offense if kids are running around and accidently bump into her. She doesn’t even like being in a bounce house that is too crowded (yet is sensory seeking, so if not getting bumped, she’d stay in one all day!). She gets disoriented very easily. Not to mention this was for kids up to age 12. TWELVE. She’s barely turning 6, and is only 30 lbs!
But hey – it’s your birthday, kiddo! If you want to try it, we’ll try it. So, Daddy went down with her prepared to run interference if needed, or to simply pick her up and console her if and when she got trampled.
Turns out, she LOVED it. LOVED it! She did awesome too! Ran around with them all, not caring for one minute where she was going or why. Just enjoyed running around. I didn’t tell her there was an actual prize, so she didn’t care about winning. She just wanted to run around with the calf. Daddy reported back to us that as I expected, she DID get trampled, and run over by some bigger kids. But to our surprise, she just picked herself up, and kept on going. Who WAS this girl?!
We gave her lots of hugs and kisses and told her how incredibly proud we were of her!
But that’s not all!
See, she had also heard about “Mutton Bustin’!”. If you have not heard of this rodeo event, let me explain it to you. You take little kids (all under 55 lbs), and put them on a big sheep. Then, they open the gate to let the sheep out, and the child has to hang on to the sheep as long as they can. It’s like bull riding for tiny tots!
She wanted to do this too! She’s on a roll! I was terrified. Absolutely terrified. But, I had an out! The kids had to sign up if they wanted to participate, and they only drew 8 names to do it. Personally, I wanted to tell her I signed her up, and not really do it (I know, so wrong!) but I relented and let her sign up. Then, I just secretly hoped she wouldn’t get picked. Meanwhile, Daddy was praying she *would*.
She did! She got picked, and she was beyond excited! I was still nervous because of all the potential issues. I honestly was not worried in the least about her getting hurt. I knew they would take care of her. I was worried about her perception of being hurt.
She was going to have to wear a protection vest and helmet. For a girl that can’t stand new clothes, anything with a seam, anything too tight or too loose, I knew this could be a problem. And it’s not like she just calmly removes uncomfortable clothes….she grabs, tears, yells, & hits to get them off.
Then, she had to stand there, waiting and wearing the protection gear until it was finally time to go. Waiting patiently was hard enough, but standing there dealing with the feeling of the equipment on her just gave her time to realize it wasn’t comfortable.
Then, she had to sit on a moving sheep, not knowing when it was going to just take off.
Then, they opened the gate, and she was hanging sideways on the sheep before it got out the gate. She was on the ground before I could snap a picture with the camera. As she fell on the ground, the sheep jumped over her. That’s when all the nervous energy hit her, and she started crying as the “fight or flight” kicked in! She was more scared than hurt, but she couldn’t get out of there fast enough.
The rodeo helper scooped her up, carried her to Daddy, and he got her equipment off. With Daddy to console her, she calmed down quickly.
Then, she got a TROPHY!!!!
When they came back to the seats, I kept watching for her expecting to see her come around the corner in tears. I was ready to scoop her up and comfort her. But, she came around that corner holding that trophy and sporting a HUGE smile!! She was SO incredibly proud of herself.
It was a moment I will never forget! It was like she had just overcome so many obstacles in just a matter of minutes. Those obstacles are still there, sure. They will resurface. They already have. But, at that moment in time, she was so brave, so proud, and so happy!
Here is a video of her. Sorry it’s so wobbly! She was on the side of the sheep before the camera started recording. You can also watch the close up on the “Jumbo Screen” at the top left of the video.
Here she is with her trophy!
I don’t know what got into her that made her try those things that night. Only the grace of God! But, I’m so glad that in the end I didn’t keep her from doing them. I would have cost her an experience of a lifetime. Thankfully, some past experiences helped her with this one. Her horse riding lessons, allowed her to get on that sheep, and wear that helmet without a problem. Taking the hockey camp allowed her to be willing to put on the protective gear without a fit. Just the same, this experience will help her with future ones. It already has. When she overreacted to a little bump the other day, I reminded her that she was tough enough to fall off a sheep and get back up! That brought a smile to her face.
She wants to be a cowgirl when she grows up. She has her eye on Barrel Racing. I just know she could do it!
A few pictures before we headed out to the rodeo: