Today was Anna's 4H Livestock Show.
When I say I really have nothing to do with Anna's 4H experience, it is no understatement. While she and Joe had headed to the general projects show on Saturday, I stayed at home with the kids (and maybe took a nap). Yesterday, they loaded up to take the cattle to the weigh-in, while I loaded up my kids to the country club pool.
Today, however, I went to the show, loading up my crew and snacks and toys once again, putting on shoes I didn't care about, and herded my friends to the fairgrounds.
The fairgrounds I went to as a child.
The fairgrounds in my home county.
The fairgrounds where my uncle, my dad, and now my girl had/have their hands in the livestock show.
As I pulled into the fairgrounds lot, careful to park in an area that wouldn't have to back up around trailers (have I mentioned I'm terrible at backing up? Even with sensors and a camera? Sheesh.), it hit me.
These are my people.
The people in the stands, the names on the animals were all familiar, if not darned friendly. Name after name after name were of people I knew from towns I grew up around, played sports against, and thought I would never, ever see again.
However, I boomeranged.
I'm back in my home county, and now that we have kids involved in county events, it's more apparent that I am truly home. As she took the ring, she did so with a young man from a family who have known me since the toddler years, had my dad as a teacher, went to church with my aunt and uncle.
The man in the ring, guiding the cattle, assisting as needed? He's the dad of kids I used to always babysit for.
The guy cleaning out the chicken coops as the little kids and I walked through, killing time between classes? He's my old neighbor who teaches Ag at my high school.
On and on and on and on I walked around seeing people I hadn't seen in years, and who didn't expect me to be there. I must have made it abundantly clear I was never coming back.
The best part? Our name was pronounced right. Not just ours, my cousin's (Mottaz, my maiden name…I know, I went from bad to worse in the name department) was pronounced correctly. When my girl won Reserve Grand Champion, we had a cheering section, even though my parents are on opposite sides of the country this week. Neighbors, friends, relatives. People knew us. They recognized us. They were supporting us.
It was surreal.
While speaking to a couple I have known all my life, who have been 4H leaders long since their kids have left the hallowed halls of 4H, I spoke of moving home to the "home farm." Pete, the dad, choked up as he spoke of the honor it was to have his daughter and family in the same situation.
I never thought of moving back to the home county in a way that would choke up my dad.
But it means something.
My boomeranging isn't just nice because I have someone to talk to at cattle shows, someone to cheer on Anna as she won Junior Showmanship (YES… SHE DID THAT, TOO!! Proud, proud mama!!), it's nice because it means something. While I never was a huge 4Her, I was a Knox County girl, and am a Knox County girl, and when people know your history, your beginning, that's a big deal. A comfort. A happy place to be when you're sharing your home with your children.
The lure of what's bigger and better and broader is strong. I felt it. I needed to branch out. I'm happy I did, and there are days I wish I could head back, but the boomerang affect is strong. Roots are stronger. Friendly faces and correct pronunciation of names may seem small, but in a big, big world, it's nice to come home to a familiar place.
Today, I truly came home, and I couldn't be prouder.
Emily and her husband, Joe, raise cattle, corn, soybeans and alfalfa for hay for their animals in Illinois. Together they are raising their four children to be good stewards of the land. Read more from Emily on her blog, Confessions of a Farm Wife.
Originally published July 14, 2014 on Confessions of a Farm Wife
Reposted with permission.