Horses and Parenting Guilt

This afternoon, my daughter and I went on a 45 minute long trail ride in the rain. By the time we were done, we were cold and soaked to the skin. But my girl was very happy to be on a horse!

Yesterday, I wrote about how I loved reading horse stories as a child. I always wanted a horse but my parents didn’t want to go down That Path. Now as a parent, I get it, but back then, I was devastated. I wanted to live and breathe horses! As I saw it, my parents stood in my way.

Interestingly, my daughter is as horse crazy as I was. She reads horse novels in a day or two. She went to horse camp this summer for three days and two nights. She got her “own” pony for the duration of camp. This was the first time she was on a horse without someone leading her around in a circle.

She was so happy!

Even happier because she got to go in her own pair of cowboy boots I bought days before camp started! Squeal!

She also has a huge stuffed horse in her bed, many miniature toy horses, and horse stuffies. Her teacher last year told me that if she ever needed to get Natalee’s attention, all she had to say was, “horses.”

The girl is Horse Crazy!

Natalee has asked many times if we could move to the country so she could have a horse. It can be hard as a parent to not have the means to give your kids the things they want. Especially when you know Exactly what they’re feeling.

Oh, how I would love to move out of the city onto a small acreage, just large enough for a barn and a couple of reliable, child-safe horses. I could sit outside on my covered porch without hearing my neighbours swearing or fighting or smelling their cigarettes. The parking games that go on in my neighbourhood would quickly be forgotten.

And the children could bus to school and would be gone from 8:30 to 3:30 Monday to Friday.

What’s not to love about that?!

I’ll keep on dreaming.

I remember a story my good friend Shelley and I “co-wrote” together when we were in high school. I think she had a horse farm and I was a veterinarian. I don’t remember all the details but it DID involve relationships with the opposite sex.

Heh, she started it!

But I made sure to make my part of the story as juicy as possible. Living vicariously in a piece of fiction is probably just as good as living it, if not better, because You control Everything!

For now, my daughter will go to horse camp during the summer. She might be able to take some riding lessons in the spring. I hope to take her on another trail ride. This time, on a dry day.

The good thing is she knows that I used to be horse crazy like she is. She knew I lived in the country and I still didn’t get a horse. I’ve told her how I begged my Dad for a horse but it never happened. I even had a few months of false hope when my Dad said, “design a small barn and we’ll see what we can do.”

I don’t blame my parents. And I hope Natalee doesn’t blame us either. We’re doing the best we can. Unfortunately, that means she doesn’t get her own horse, but it does mean that I provide her with as much horse-time as I can afford.

Parenting is tough. It’s even harder when you put yourself on guilt trips because you can’t give your child everything they want.

What they don’t know is that they really need a parent — preferably two — that love them. They need safety, security, and stability.

Everything after that is just icing on the cake.

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