Hope has been working at a barn this summer. And when I say "working," I don't mean just grooming horses. She mucks stalls, makes feed, cleans water troughs and all the other grunt work that goes into keeping a stable clean. Needless to say, she works really hard.
She also comes home stinking to high heaven.
We've decided she has to sit on towels when she gets into the car because there is so much grime on her. And the smell is really horrific. We tell her it smells like a horse has peed on her. (Aren't we just the best and most supportive parents??)
I know, I know, you may think your kid stinks after a workout or practice, too. And I get it. We once drove home from Oklahoma from a soccer tournament in August with Hope's shin guards, socks and cleats in the back, wafting their smell to the front of the car until we made a pit stop to tie them up in a bag so we didn't gag anymore. Athletics make for stinky kids AND gear.
But I digress...
Since leaving my full time job last year and Brian's subsequent surgery, we have not had a lot of discretionary income. Horse gear has been one of the many things that has had to fall by the wayside. While it's been discouraging to her, Hope continues to work hard to find a way around it.
She mucks out stalls in $20 boots from Academy while others are taking their horses out in their $200 boots from Dover and then they change into their $400 riding boots. And as they push past her, she continues to be gracious and cleans up after their horses. It's not glamorous and I may get in trouble for writing this because sometimes it's embarrassing to her. But she continues to do it 5-6 days a week.
She doesn't make much. Definitely works harder than most people I know who make 3xs what she does. And while she complains a little (after all--she IS a teenager), she puts in her time and does her job well.
A few weeks ago, she was able to take her paycheck and buy her very own saddle. It's a used one from a rider at her other barn--where she rides, but it is HERS.
As a parent, I want to be able to give her a saddle and expensive paddock boots and new riding pants. I don't want her to feel "less-than" because of what she has or doesn't have. But just like she is reaping the rewards of the hard work, I am watching her and seeing a character develop that might not have if I had given her all the things I want to.
Victory and success don't usually come easily. It's hard work and you are bound to get a little (or in Hope's case--a LOT) stinky in the process.
But it's always worth it.
Just ask Hope.