There's nothing I'd rather do than spend an afternoon in the dirt with my mom. I can watch her work a horse for hours. I soak it in when she takes the time to watch me work one, pointing out where I could use more finesse, more patience. When I was younger, it used to drive me crazy because I thought she was nagging, but now I wish I had paid more attention...how much better a horsewoman would I be if I had? We're such different minds. She has such energy and presence, I am timid and soft. She has patience. It's no secret that I have none. But she can teach me, if anyone can.
She knows my strengths and my weaknesses like no one else, she knows how to guide me to compensate for them. She makes me laugh when I'm so frustrated I'm about to cry. She does her best to tread lightly and let me figure things out in my own time, but she doesn't let me forget that I am tough enough, strong enough, smart enough. She doesn't push or force, and she doesn't hold me back when I'm ready to try something new. She handles me like she does her colts, her outlaws...she sets me up to succeed, but she expects me to try.
"My mother is the bones of my spine, keeping me straight and true." I don't remember who wrote this, but it's from some book I read somewhere. And it's the most accurate statement I can make about my mom. She is my backbone, never letting me forget that I am capable and intelligent even when I don't feel very much like it.
I used to think there'd come a time when I wouldn't need her or when I'd be old enough to stop being told. Now I don't ever want that time to come, because that woman is so full of things to know and I want to know everything that she knows. I want to be as able as she is. I want to be half the woman she is (I can hear her making a smartass comment about pant size right now).
I will never, ever be too old to stop learning from my mother.