I learned something important during the fair this year. I like being single. Shocking, yes?
I feel like I need to add a disclaimer here: I would never have chosen to live my life without Dave- if anyone had given me a choice. In no way am I saying that I'm happy he's gone or that my life is better without him. Neither of those statements are true.
What I am saying is: I like being single. I like my life. I like not answering to anyone else. I like being the one who decides how to allocate resources. I like knowing that it doesn't matter if I make it home for dinner or not. If the kids are with me we can do whatever sounds good at that moment in time. If we want to stay late at the fair, there's no one missing us at home. If I want to wake up at the last minute and make the kids eat a granola bar in the car for breakfast- no one's going to criticize.
During the course of this year we've bought a lot of sheep. Well, we bought 8 sheep. That's a lot for us. I picked them all up with the horse trailer. Then I drove them to weigh-in... and sheep meetings... and the fair. If you've never pulled a trailer, or if you've always pulled a trailer, that might not seem like anything special. I haven't really driven with a trailer in about 18 years. I've kind of forgotten how to back up a trailer without jack knifing. It's also kind of interesting to hitch a trailer, not difficult, just interesting.
As I was backing into the driveway with the trailer on the night of fair check-in, I realized that I was incredibly happy and peaceful, both at the same time. We'd completed our 4-H year. The kids were doing well. Every place we'd needed to be- we made it. Stuff was ready to go for the show the next day. The kids were ready for the show the next day. I BACKED the trailer off the road, down over the drainage ditch, and into the driveway by the shop. Then I unhitched the trailer, sent the dog to the house, said goodnight to the llama (who I'd tracked down, tried to purchase, and transported the week before), got in the suburban to pull around to the front of the house... and realized... I was HAPPY! And a large part of the reason I was happy... was because I'd done hard things... and I'd done them by myself.
The boys were with me. I can't say that they didn't help- they did. People in our 4-H club helped, of course they did. But really- I did this. I got my family through the 4-H year. I managed the meetings. I figured out how to feed the kids dinner on the go for the nights we needed to be on the other side of the valley by 6:30. I bought the suburban so that we would have a vehicle that will haul a trailer. I arranged for Chris to buy sheep. I took him to buy sheep. I paid for some of the sheep. I arranged to have feed delivered. I encouraged Chris to go out every day, multiple times a day, and take care of his lambs. I drove us to all of the meetings, and workshops, and practices that the kids needed to learn and grow. I re-educated myself on how to BACK UP that darned trailer! For all of the details that had to be worked out, big stuff, small stuff, seemingly inconsequential stuff... it got done.
I can do hard things. I can even do them with grace (sometimes). I can make things that used to be hard seem easy because my skills have improved. It feels good.