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They watch everything we do…

Our children watch everything we do, the good, the bad, and the ugly.  I know this, we all know this, but as we are in the thick of county fair season I have been reminded of it once again.

Red Ribbons

I am not proud of the next few sentences I am going to type, but I am an open book and always share because I know my storms and trials may help others.  Our family started off last week with static judging at the county fair.  Both girls had projects, Ellie for Clover Kids, and Grace for 4-H.  They had both worked really hard, just like all of the kids do to prepare for the county fair.  Grace confidently marched to get in line to get judged on her quilt that she had made. As she walked away from me I couldn’t help but think about the pep she had in her step as she walked away.  I watched as she talked with the judge, shared about her project, and pointed to her goal page and pictures that she had compiled. 

I must have been looking away as it ended because when I looked up Grace was walking towards me WITHOUT that pep in her step.  As any mom would do I said, “What’s the matter?”  Her response, “I got red and she said I could have done better.”  My horrible response that I wish I could take back (imagine my tone), “You, got a red?!?!” Then when I saw the tears welling up in her eyes I just threw her next project at her and told her to get in line with her scotcheroos and cookies.

Being the worrywart that I am I have replayed my reaction a million times in my head.  Do I wish I would have responded differently? Absolutely!  Did she/I learn something from it? Absolutely! I was truly just shocked, not mad.  I knew how hard she had worked on that quilt, but in the end, how hard a parent thinks their child worked on a project doesn’t impact the color of ribbon that is given by the JUDGE.  They are the judge for a reason.  Once I was able to gather my thoughts I was able to respond totally different when she walked back towards me with 2 blues and consideration to the state fair and we talked about what she might have done to improve her quilt to make it a blue ribbon quilt. Had I not done that and took a different approach to the red ribbon the entire day could have gone a different direction.  When we laid our heads down that night I told her to never let the red ribbon take away from the 4 blue ribbons and consideration for the state fair that she had received, but use it to encourage her to try again next year.

So why am I telling all of you this story?  Over the next few weeks of county fair season your children, grandchildren, neighbor children, or club members are going to be watching YOU.  They are watching how you react, interact with others, volunteer, and how you handle THEIR wins and losses. 

These children are the future volunteers at our county fairs and in our communities and they are making memories that will last a lifetime.  They will follow in our footsteps and lead another generation of 4-H and FFA members.  I encourage all of us to truly think about the comments that we make about that hog that wins that we think was too fat, that red ribbon that we think should have been a purple, or giving of your time to clean a neighbors pen or sweep all of the aisles (just because) even if it isn’t your kids' aisle.

Remember they watch everything we do…

What are some of your favorite county fair memories or experiences?

From the gravel road,

Jen

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If you haven’t read part 1, go back and read that now!  This is part 2 of where I come from. This post is the result of wanting to make sure that I am living to my FULLEST potential because I am here on this planet for a purpose.

I come from Horace (Pat) and Patricia Kuhlemeier. They married when she was 17 and he was 21.  They met in Rockford when Patty was a house keeper for Pat’s mother. They made their home in that same house for 42 years until my Grandma passed away.

I come from fun. If there was one thing I know about my maternal grandparents is that they had FUN with a capital F.  We have copies of my great grandmother’s diaries and they were always talking about going to the movies, taking the train to Mason City, playing cards until the wee hours of the morning, and I have even seen a few black and white reels of fun parties that they had at my aunt and uncle’s house.

I come from a fighting Irish Woman (born on St. Patty's Day) and struggle. My grandmother's last name was Bahnsen. She passed away in 1984 from complications of alcoholism. She struggled in private for many years, not a social drinker, but a private drinker.  I don’t know much about this time, but I know this was a painful struggle for my family. I know that my mom lost her mom at a young age and I am sad that I didn’t get to know my Grandma like my older cousins did.   Addiction is a horrible disease that can rip families apart, although, I was too young to remember much of this I know that the struggle that my Grandpa, mom, aunt, and uncle endured didn’t rip them apart. I am proud of them for what they made it through in this scary, rough, and painful years.  I have many special pieces of memorabilia from my Grandma, my most special piece is this ring that my mom gave me on my 16th birthday, and it is the diamonds from her wedding band.  I wear it every day as a great reminder that I come from struggle and love.

I come from white t shirts and rides in the truck.  Many of my favorite memories include wearing my Grandpa’s big white t-shirts when we stayed overnight at his house.  I loved standing over the big vents on the floor beside his chair and letting the t-shirt puff out.  He would laugh and then let me sit in his chair with him while we watched tv.  Our nights watching tv usually included popcorn and a malt.

Although it is no longer bright white, it is special to me because my Grandpa wore it.

My grandpa had HUGE hands and a giant heart.  He would let us ride in the truck with him on trips to Hofler’s Seed Company.  He had a trucking company with my other Grandpa.  I collect Hofler’s seed sacks and memorabilia to this day, someone asked me why those sacks are so important to me the other day.  I think they are important to me because I know how much my family enjoyed the people that worked at Hofler’s and worked hard to deliver their product where it needed to go.  Deep down inside sometimes when I walk by the sacks hanging in my house I wonder if just maybe one of my grandpa’s touched one of those sacks.

I come from starting again. In 1989--- my Grandpa remarried and started again as a newlywed with Luci. They made their home in Hubbard so I didn’t see my Grandpa as much, but when I did see him it was always fun.  We played SkipBo, played with Luci’s makeup, and made trips to the Dayton Rodeo. We never left Grandpa and Luci’s house without a bag of MaryKay AND I bet he is probably one of the only old time farmers that could tell you what the new spring colors were in the Mary Kay line or what each moisturizer was meant to do.  You see, when he started new again, he didn’t leave the business and finance “stuff” that he loved with farming and running a trucking operation. He just moved on to something different, which just happened to be makeup because Luci was a director with MaryKay. 

So, not only do I come from love, strong work ethic, and kindness. I also come from fun, struggle, big white t-shirts, truck rides and starting again. ALL of these pieces make me who I am today. I truly believe my fun loving spirit comes from these two people and I am blessed to have had them in my life.I believe the things they lived through were for me to be who I am today.

From the Gravel Road-

Jen

Part 3 tomorrow!

Items from my Grandpa Path and Grandma Patty.
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