1 week to go!
Today, I woke up more bleary-eyed than usual. I'm not sure if I can attribute this to the short weekend, the multiple bottles of wine at Cheri's parent's house last night, or the incessant dreams of Mule Deer keeping my heart pumping double-duty all night. Probably all of the above.
I struggled to get untangled from the covers and lumbered my way to the shower. As the water rained down on my head, a sobering realization hit me: One week until we head out to Grand Mesa.
Suddenly the haze of sleep lifted from my eyes. My movements quickened as if fueled by a greater purpose. A smile actually creased my lips. Yes... a smile first thing in the morning. I'm not sure that has ever happened before! I am not... nor will I ever be... a morning person. Oh I'll get up early to go fishing, or hunting, don't get me wrong. But to say I do so with a smile... well that's just crazy-talk.
My "joy" continued all throughout my usual morning practices. I smiled at the electric razor. I happily hung up my towel. I grabbed my shirt and pants and actually hung the hangers back up! What a GREAT day! I was able to slip my feet into my shoes without fighting the laces! AWESOME!!! We had a bit of a chilly night, and at 6:45 am I pulled my leather coat from the closet and it felt like it fit better than the last time I wore it. There was Cheri and the kids, bright-eyed and all, lined up with their gear at the garage door. How nice. No fights this morning. Everyone must be in as good a mood as I am! Mark this date on the calendar.
"Becca, do you have your heavy coat to take to your dad's just in case?" I asked. She looked at me, much like some of you may be looking at this post right now. I'll explain:
Cale and Becca spend one week with us at our house, then the next week with their dad. Back and forth they go week after week. It's about as stable as we can make the situation for them. Their father still lives in the school district they've grown up in, and we didn't feel like ripping them out of it. We take Cale to his school because it starts earlier, then drop Becca off at her dad's place to wait an hour and a half for her bus, then we go off to work.
This last week, they were with us, so this week... yep... off to their dad's. The following week, Cheri and I are on the western slope on the deer hunt, so they will be with their dad that week. Finally, when we get back, the normal schedule would have them back at their dad's. Rather than screw that up, and we lose Christmas with them, they will stay at their dad's 3 weeks in a row. Everybody with me so far? (Context is everything with me)
So I ask Becca if she has her heavy coat at her dad's because the weather in Colorado is like a schizophrenic off medication, and I sure don't want her stuck out in the weather with her light-weight Minnie Mouse coat. She had either forgotten the arrangements regarding her housing over the next three weeks, or simply has not learned in her 10 years of living here how volatile the weather can be, but either way, she had no clue.
Being the good, "in-tune" step-father I am, I quickly put two and two together, and followed my question up with, "You'll be at your dad's for the next three weeks so you might need it, babe."
I think we all should be equipped with external sound devices. Those devices would make moments like the one I am describing more enjoyable for us. Had Becca been in posession of such a thing, I am pretty sure that the sound of crickets chirping would have filled the confines of our kitchen area while she processed this statement.
I screw with Becca's head every chance I can. I caught her one morning years ago looking at her bare bottom in the mirror. I choked back the laughter as much as I could and asked what exactly she was looking for. She said with a rather matter-of-fact tone, "I'm looking for my stamp." For weeks, I had been teasing her that she was not "concieved" as her brother was, but she was "assembled" from spare parts at an orphanage. Her Barbie dolls had a stamp on their butt's, so she concluded that she must also bare the same mark, and she wanted to see if she had this mark to prove once and for all that I was messing with her.
I'm sure she must have thought that I was at it again, but her mom and brother confirmed for her that I was not. Her good mood suddenly shifted to what I can only assume was an empty, desolate feeling. Her face lost its glow and her shoulders dropped a visible inch. "Oh." was all she said, and she turned to the calendar hanging to her left as the final proof she was after.
She remained silent through the 10 minute trip from our house to Cale's school. We arrived and Cale and I did our usual fist-bump, followed by my usual "Be good or else" comment, and off to their dad's we went.
Becca is 10. I don't know if this true of all 10 year old girls, but when she is silent for more that 20 seconds she is either sick or plotting something. Anyone care to guess which one best fit her on this occasion. Yep... you got it. The wheels were SMOKIN! All she could come up with was, "Does dad know we'll be there for three weeks?" Hehe... God love her for trying!
It was weak, and she knew it going in. "A" for effort hun! As I was reaching for the hammer to drive in the final nail, Cheri stole my thunder. "Yep we talked it over and he is very excited to have you that long." That was the end of that. Check mate.
We dropped her off, and she moved with head hung low to her dad's apartment. All I could do was giggle. Not a mean spirited giggle as I'm sure I am portaying here, but more of a "Look at you... you're trying hard as you can. Good try."
I give out this information not to illustrate how much I enjoy getting on Becca's nerves. Admittedly, I get a huge kick out of that sometimes. I want to show the immense desire this little girl has to experience hunting. See, nothing of her ploy has anything to do with feelings of abandonment, or difficulties coping with three weeks at her father's home, or our little game of "I trumped you, haha". She truly, with every fiber of her being, wants to go on a hunt. She doesn't even care if its a field mouse or an elephant. She just wants to get out there and do it. Experience it. Feel it, if you will.
She understands what she needs to do to get there:
1) Keep her grades up
2) Complete her tasks around the house.
3) Complete her Hunter's Safety Course.
So far, the only thing missing is #3. Every time we bring it up, her brother tells her how easy it was, and that he had a good time doing it. I tell her about the "hot bonde" her brother fell in love with, Cale punches me in the arm and I laugh... she says ok I'll do it. But when push comes to shove, she just doesn't follow through and give us the date she wants to take the class. She's 10, and some would argue that we should set the date for her and make her go. I say she's 10 and setting her own date will make her commit and buckle down. Its more important that she follows through, takes the class, passes the class all on her own. Then that little orange card will mean the world to her, and her reward will be a lifetime of hunting. Until she commits, she stays behind. Its that simple, and its all up to her.
Anyway... this has nothing to do with the hunt... I just thought I'd share!
Last edited by Colorado Rick; 09-15-2008 at 03:50 PM.