Feeling the weight of the world on my shouldersPublished 3:55pm Tuesday, September 6, 2011
If I have to pretend to play horse one more time, I’m fronting the money to legally change my name to Mr. Ed.
I chose Mr. Ed over Secretariat or Man O’ War due to the name being a little more personable. I really couldn’t see me introducing my wife and I at the next Christmas party as Mr. and Mrs. Man O’ War. I like the intimidation factor, but I need to live in a bit of reality.
Reality is in the eye of the beholder in my household. You know you’re in big trouble when your daughter looks at you and views you as a “horsy.” The reality to her would be that I need to sprout hooves, chew the cud and neigh every now and then for good measure.
My little girl eats, sleeps, breaths and mimics horses. Not only am I in trouble when she has a little free time on her hands and decides she wants to saddle up her horse, but she expects at some point in the near future to own one of them – a real one.
In order to play horse with a little girl, one has to have a very strong back, which I, of course, don’t.
Also, one has to have stamina; which I, of course, am lacking a bit at the moment.
One also has to pretend to be horsy in the middle of a 95-degree day.
Nothing wrong with a good sweat, I always tell myself, as I trot around with beads of sweat running down the front of my glasses.
A good degree of humility is particularly needed. Especially if neighbors are looking out of their windows at your daughter hooking a bungee cord to your shirt and pretending it’s a bridle. Or in allowing them to tie you to a tree – and then leave you there as they go and fetch you some grass, that I in turn have to pretend to eat. After all, that’s what I do as a horse, eat grass and allow people to tie me up and ride me wherever they want to go.
We went to Harmon Field the other day to well, watch the horses, of course. Mesmerized, she stood there as if the horses were running around the ring, huffing and jumping just for her. She had herself an “I am one with the horse” moment.
Armageddon could have come and she wouldn’t have batted a 7-year-old eyelash, unless it was a horse and rider coming out of the sky.
As we walked, I noticed that she started to walk exactly like a horse. If you know how a horse walks, you can imagine. With her boots on and her dream in her head, she led me around to view her favorite horses. She even asked me to bend down and allow her to “saddle me” in public. That’s where I draw the line.
A photographer noticed the young addiction as we walked toward the stalls.
“Is she thinking about riding?” he inquired to me.
“Every day,” I said without flinching.
“You know what that means, don’t you?” he said in return. “It’s going to happen. She’s going to ride one day.”
Right then I realized the enormity of his statement. First of all, he’s right. Second of all, I have to make a lot of money and I need to start right now – whoa, horsy.
As a parent, it seems the weight of the world is on my shoulders as I watch my kids grow up and see the desires they have. My responsibility is to provide them with every means necessary for them to achieve those wishes. Making enough money, providing the best education we can, helping them pursue their gifts and desires and hoping all these choices we make daily add up to something positive.
My daughter “shooed” me out of her bedroom the other day so she could have her privacy with a friend. At that moment, I saw a 15-year-old exiling me out of her life. The weight of the world being on my shoulders didn’t seem so bad then.
At some point when they have outgrown their imagination, my kids will be on their own, living with the choices we’ve made for them. A little part of me will probably wish for that weight to be on my shoulders one more time; pretending to be horsy and being led by a bungee cord just for kicks.
Chris Jakubowicz lives in Tryon with his wife and children. His bi-weekly column will focus on how he and his family are trying to get back to their grassroots. Jakubowicz can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.