I'm not sure when my family began the tradition. I remember once when Maddie, the oldest grandchild, was about four we toured the grounds with her Uncle Colin and Aunt Lisa. Uncle Colin was severely ill at the time and his one regret was that he didn't have the energy to play with her. Another year, when Sawyer, now nine, was still in a stroller, we took him to the barns--he screamed in displeasure the whole time, and his stroller wheels were caked with manure. Not one of our better outings.
But in recent years they've all gone to the rodeo. Tomorrow, according to tradition, we'll tour the barns and exhibits and the Midway. This grandmother will wimp out again--will do the barns and maybe the exhibit hall, but when they head for the midway, I'll head for home. I've done it--watched proudly as my grandchildren slid down the highest slide, rode on scary rides, but I no longer want to stand around waiting. I used to take a book and plant myself--the kids would come get me when they were ready to move on. No more. And no more rodeo. I have heard, even written about, the care taken of rodeo stock, and I think I'm less afraid of seeing an animal hurt (though that would break my heart) than seeing a cowboy (or cowgirl) hurt. I know--they choose to do it. But my stomach for violence and injury is increasingly weak.
Besides, it's so quiet and calm at my house right now. And tomorrow, at 6:45 a.m. Jordan and I leave for my book signing at the Old Neighborhood Grill. I need my rest. Still, it's lovely, if lively, to have my kids and grandkids here. Tonight, two of my children and five of my grandchildren will sleep under my roof. Such bliss.