Oh. Right. This is what they meant. This is why my friends kept asking if I was doing ok and handling our daughter Katie moving to South Dakota alright.
“Well of course I am!” I thought. I said “Who wouldn’t be? I’m even a little jealous, getting to live in the heart of the Black Hills? I wish I could swap places with her!”
Until she packs up her pickup truck and rolls out of the driveway at 5am and I suddenly, heart-wrenchingly, feel like I should stop her. Tell her that her dad and I can’t run this damn farm and a branding shop without her. Want to ask her if she’s sure, if it’s right, if she’s thought it all out. If she’s thought of ME, and what I’ll do without her. My right arm. Just gone.
How will a mounted shooting season (the first in eleven or twelve years) be any fun without her?
Who will know to string a couple extra strands of barbed-wire when the cows are looking too hard at the south water gap and we’re both at work?
Her critters…her two good mares, her cat and her Dixie dog, what are they gonna think? What’s she gonna do without them?
What if I get another truck stuck in the middle of nowhere with no cell service on a freezing cold dark night, and I need a tough-as-nails and seemingly-too-little blonde girl to take the wheel and fight thru her tears to see to steer that ‘89 Chevy pickup over a creek bank and on to solid ground while I push it with the tractor?
Yeah. This is what they meant when they asked. Those friends who knew more than we did how much we relied on this girl.
That alone, though, means we did our job. And she exceeded the wildest expectations of two stupid teenage kids who had no clue. But had a daughter they somehow had to figure out how to raise and do right by.
Ah. I get that question now. And appreciate you guys asking, it was my tip-off to what was coming. And you know, after some hard thought, our answer remains the same as it’s been since the day she was born, I guess. “Well sure I’m OK, who wouldn’t be with a daughter like her? I mean, we don’t know how we’ll get by, but we’ll figure it out. It’ll be fine. For that girl? We’d do anything.”
Don’t look back Katie, only forward, that’s the key to life, babe. Do what that Missourah creek bank and your hard-ass mother taught you. The same thing her hard-ass father taught her. Just put it in drive, look through the tears, ignore the dark, hit that accelerator and never doubt I’m right behind you pushing you to solid ground and a way up and out.
I’m so blessed to see this day. I’m a realist, I know what her odds were when she was born and I know damn full well this is the best possible scenario.
But. Freaking. OUCH.