|Just Hanging - Sug, Soph, and Me|
What I see as the root cause of this classic argument (and remember, I'm not a social worker, psychologist or anything of the kind - the only initials I have after my name are EMBA and MOM) is the emotional attachment that we feel for the horse. Money and time are convenient, and often legitimate, complaints, but I'd bet dollars to donuts that in most cases the real issue at hand comes down to "You love that horse more than you love me."
I see it this way: I don't love "that horse" more than I love you. I love you better because I love "that horse." My girls, bless their hearts, teach me the patience I need to raise better children and allow my husband to live to see another day. When I experience training issues with Sugar, I am learning to take a step back and assess the situation and ask, "Is it me, or her? Am I explaining what I want clearly? Is she being naughty, or is she confused?" That moment of analysis allows me to regroup and present my request differently, and that usually produces the correct reaction from Sug, or suggests a new tack to take to get where we want to go.
That technique, when applied to my children or husband, means that instead of shrieking "What in the HELL were you thinking??" (my default mode) when they do something I find unacceptable, I can pause, take a deep breath, and ask "Did that work out the way you hoped it would? No? Why not? What do you think you could have done differently to get a better outcome?" That fosters calm
So, when people in my life (never my kids -- my kids "get" it) have questioned the amount of money/time/love I devote to "Just a horse," I show them this video, created by ohsoawesome12 and based the poem below. I think sums it up quite nicely.
'Just a Horse'
From time to time, people tell me, “Lighten up, it’s just a horse,” or “That’s a lot of money for just a horse”.
They don’t understand the distance traveled, the time spent or the costs involved for "Just a horse."
Some of my proudest moments have come about with "Just a horse."
Many hours have passed and my only company was "Just a horse," but I did not once feel slighted.
Some of my saddest moments have been brought about by "Just a horse," and in those days of darkness, the gentle touch of "Just a horse" gave me comfort and reason to get over the day.
If you think it’s “Just a horse,” then you will probably understand phrases like “Just a friend, “Just a sunrise,” or “Just a promise.”
"Just a horse" brings into my life the very essence of friendship, trust, and pure unbridled joy.
"Just a horse" brings out the compassion and patience that make me a better person.
Because of "Just a horse" I will rise early, take long walks and look longingly to the future.
So for me and folks like me, it’s not “Just a horse” but an embodiment of all the hopes and dreams of the future, the fond memories of the past, and the pure joy of the moment.
“Just a horse” brings out what’s good in me and diverts my thoughts away from myself and the worries of the day.
I hope that someday they can understand that it’s not “Just a horse” but the thing that gives me humanity and keeps me from being “just a woman.”
- Jess Schwarcz