By Ranch House Social Squad Member, Megan Brehm
It’s finally here. The year I’ve long awaited. It’s the year that our daughter will take her first steps into the ring as a junior cattle exhibitor. My husband and I have anxiously awaited this moment for some time, planning ahead through adjusting breeding programs, catching up registration paper work, and dusting off the old Air Express. If you live this life, you understand.
So why is it that this doesn’t seem quite possible, that it seems more likely that she should be the wide-eyed toddler, hand locked in ours, strolling the cattle barns of a show, pointing out her favorite “cow,” while we promise “someday you’ll have one just like it.”
That someday has arrived, much like the other milestones before it, that somehow don’t seem possible to have passed by so quickly. First birthday. First vacation. First pet. First day of preschool. Then kindergarten. Next second grade…. yes, second grade. As a mother, the start of kindergarten somehow slipped under my radar without inducing the tears I saw a few other moms brush away. This year second grade was the year it hit me. Our little girl isn’t quite as little anymore. Second graders start riding their bike to school, mowing the lawn, and for some lucky second graders: pull their first heifer into the ring.
I remember my first time showing at our little county fair in southeast Nebraska, full of excitement, pride, and wonder. A fire lit in me sometime along the way budding a love for cattle, the business, and the people that hasn’t ceased. Growing up, the passage of one year seemed to take an eternity, while now looking back, it passed in the blink of an eye. Those years were truly some of the very best. From the lifelong friendships made along the way, the laughs and tears, and Grand Champions all the way down the line: the experiences and life-lessons learned seem endless.
This year as we begin to prepare Lauren’s heifers and steer for the upcoming show season, a myriad of emotions comes flooding back to this mama. This year she’ll be the little girl with the big heifer walking into the ring. I hope that a fire lights in her and burns strong. Already in preparation for the upcoming year, I’ve caught myself setting back in awe of the beauty this lifestyle entails. I’ve seen our little girl stepping up to big girl responsibilities in the barn. Happy to help, step up, and learn as much as she can. She’s also so happy to pass on her passion to her little sister and brother eager to be following right in her footsteps.
To be honest, maybe this year is a little scary as a mom. Maybe I’m afraid of how fast these years will pass, much like mine before it. But I do know one thing; it will be worth it. As a mother, I’ve enjoyed every opportunity to chat with parents of older kids nearing the end of their show cattle journey. These parents spell it out perfectly, “how great of an opportunity this has been for their kids,” “how much their kids have grown personally,” or “how its paying off in college, in careers,” and most importantly, in life. And at the end of the day, really what more could you ever want for your children? So even as I write this piece brushing off the “my baby is growing up” jitters, I am so thankful to be able to pass on this wonderful lifestyle to her and all of the fantastic opportunities it provides.