Sunday, November 9, 2008
Look who's blown into town...
Ella Frances has a week long break from the rigors of kindergarten. In her five year old opinion, the best place to spend any free time is at Nonni's farm. Not that she doesn't love all her grandparents dearly and equally. It's just that Nonni's is where Punky lives. Punky is a small, sweet chestnut colored pony with a wild flaxen mane (think Tina Turner). A patient little equid, she has helped a steady stream of youngsters learn to ride.
Where horses are concerned, Ella is precocious to say the least. She has a fire in her heart for all things equine. As a baby, she was plunked on the pony as soon as she could hold herself in a upright position, and has been progressing at lightning speed ever since.
Last summer she rode lead-line in her first horse show and won a blue ribbon (as did all the entrants). The excitement of the show, the glitz of the outfits on all the beautiful cowgirls, horses everywhere, she was hooked.
Ella now discusses in detail, next year's show season, what sparkly shirt she will wear, what classes she will be old enough to enter and what horse she will ride. Where most little girls want the Barbie jeep, an American Girl doll or something Hannah Montana, El asks for riding gear and a black and white pony that jumps.
Since she arrived on Tuesday, I have not put on make-up or left our property for that matter. I'm surprised that she lets me shower and brush my teeth in the morning. Right after breakfast every day we are at the barn for chores then grooming, trot work, cantering, trail rides, jumping, barrels, bathing, stall cleaning, barn sweeping, evening chores... We don't come back to the house till after dark.
I hope I don't sound like I'm complaining, I relish every moment of our time together. As the mother of four sons, having a little grand-girl that hangs on my every word is a gift beyond measuring.
Yesterday as we were getting ready to ride she asked me if I had tan riding pants like hers, I told her I did. "What about a pink jacket like mine, Nonni?" Yes.. Before I knew it, we were dressed alike from head to toe and stood admiring ourselves in front of the mirror, Ella looking for all the world like a little Mini Me.
Today another one of Ella's adoring Grandma's (there are a bunch of us!) arrived to take her home to Tennessee and the parents who greatly miss her. Ella clung to me and cried. She said the time went too fast. She didn't get to ride enough, to be with me enough. I know. I feel the same.
It's hard to be this far apart. It breaks both our hearts when she has to go home. Our time is bittersweet. From the moment she arrives, she asks how many more days are left of this visit. It is always in the backs of our minds.
So now I begin my wait. I turn my attention forward, to Christmas and another school break. Then, once again, I'll feel that warm, sweet change in the air...
...and Bella Ella will breeze back into town.