If I have learned one thing about where we are in the world today, it is that everyone has an opinion. With that opinion comes a lot of emotion and conviction. I can't say I don't understand because this affects us all in some way or another. As I have come to realize the opinions of people, I am learning that the best thing I can do is keep my opinion to myself and try to be respectful of other's opinions -whether I agree or not. The best way I can share my thoughts is by my behavior and actions. I am going to try to "show" you how I feel as we navigate opening High Caliber Stables. My goal is to be respectful and to work in a manner that respects people's safety as well as their desire to move forward. I can promise you, I don't have all the answers but I am not afraid to move forward and "show" that we are willing to make adjustments as we adapt to the necessary procedures and protocols. I only ask that as we navigate this new way of doing business that you work with us. Be honest -but be kind. We can and will get back to our way of life but we have to do it together and allow for the time to learn together.
On a personal note, I have been reminded of the the need for Family Dinners. Before this Pandemic, the table in our home was only there to set things on when needed. I was raised at the table eating breakfast and dinner with my family, whether I liked it or not. As life has gotten busy, I forgot what it was like to set the table, say the prayer (now said by EJ Orr with help from Ellis), sit down and eat. Both EJ and Ellis have now learned to ask to be excused from the table -in addition to taking their plates to the sink. When they say find the good in this situation I can tell you that has been the good for me. I realize this can not happen all the time -but it CAN happen. A lot happens at a dinner table: conversation, eye contact, laughter, planning, getting to know people, patience and manners.
I have also realized how much I miss and appreciate my Wednesday and Friday Night Family Dinners with my barn Family. Wednesdays after lessons at Uptown Charlies is missed. Guessing exactly what everyone is going to eat as well as our banter about the 16 TV Shows that we watch is something I look forward to each week. Friday Night Mexican Food and my refusal to change dinner spots is another tradition that I will try to never again take for granted. I miss the Cheese Dip, the laughter, the loud music and the family that I love. You fall into the routine and don't realize those are the moments that count - eating food and checking in with each other. You never sit with the same person, which means where you sit is who you get to catch up with and there are ten conversations happening at once. The food is good but the company is what makes the meal.
This time has taught me that when I am asked, "Why do you guys do all that "extra" stuff?", I can tell them now more than ever, it istime with familythat counts. It is time to laugh, fight, figure it out, eat and learn what matters most... the relationships. It is in the dinners is where we become a family. I long for Tom Brock to thank Dan Marcum for Church Hot Dogs and know that Kelly Lockhart will be cheering when he brings in the card board box full on Saturdays. I can't wait to steal another coffee cup from Jason Horan, take it home and forget that we are using it the following Saturday! If I could just roll my eyes at Corbin on Friday Night for gathering a group to NOT go to Mexican Food and to be told agressively we need to leave because Kaitlyn is fighting for our spot and Cagle needs to get a number of people coming for her. The little things that make us a family. Perfectly imperfect, and what I will try to learn from this time away is that it is not the opinions or frustrations that tend to lead the conversations. I need to fight off Julie Bosworth for my own cheese dip and see Evan with his "friends" sitting as far away from me as he can to not be criticized for his food or drink choice.
This time has taught me that EJ and Ellis need to know how to sit at a table, have manners and do not always get to pick what they want to eat, but instead eat what is made. They need to learn that the TV gets turned off, the phones get put down and we can all talk with each other. As I type this, I feel like I am Dan Marcum and for the first time in my life I think that makes me a little bit more proud than annoyed for a change. I also know that I am not trying to turn back the clock to the "way it was". I need it to be "the way it is". We can have phones AND have dinner at the table. We can watch Disney Plus AND turn it off for a while. iPads are awesome, but so is human interaction. I don't want to be locked in my house -I want to use my home for ALL of my family -which means: "Watch out, Kids!" We will be doing more eating together! It is the small stuff that can hopefully set a balance to a world that is not all bad, but clearly needs to see the pause as lesson to move forward with a some changes that can make us better, kinder, and able to live in the moment.
One step at a time but a lot closer to seeing ALL of our family... Here is to the Family Dinners: May we have them, enjoy them, appreciate them and learn from them.
Have a great week.