Stage Mother. Soccer Mom. Titles that conjure up all kinds of negative images. Yet here I am. Guilty. I'm a proud mama, bursting at the seams, basking in my little boy's accomplishments.
The most recent achievement? You're not going to believe it. Really, it is fairly far-fetched.
Zachary won first place in a mutton wrangling contest. You read that correctly. We rode a furry little lamb in a rodeo-style race and won the whole darn thing. I know. Odd.
How did this come to be? Believe me when I tell you it that it was not due to hard work and practice. Nope, just random luck, and my son's crazy athletic prowess. Let's just be honest he is amazing.
I didn't want him to participate. We were at the Alameda County Fair having a grand old time watching pig races and eating soft-serve when my husband got the idea that Zachary should sign up for the mutton race. I didn't know what was involved so I agreed, until we saw the first competitor in action.
I stood in the bleachers with Zack's brothers and watched as the first child climbed on an animal bare backed. He was wearing a caged mask and a padded vest. The doors swung open and the lamb ran out with a five year old clinging to it's back. Within seconds the child was flung to the dirt, left there crying as a clown came to his rescue. My mouth hung open. What the hell had I signed my son up for? I raced over to my husband who was standing in line with Zachary. "No way!" I yelled to him. David laughed. "They do this five times a day! It's perfectly safe." he promised.
I went back to my position in the stands and waited. Zack was the last to compete. When they called his name, tears welled up in my eyes. I was afraid. Afraid that he would be flung off the speeding beast and truly injured. I was sure I was making a mistake.
The doors swung open, and out he came. He clung to the animal in perfect form. He hung on until the mutton made it all the way to the end of the arena, when finally he fell to the ground. I was in shock. The crowed roared. The announcer gave Zack an enthusiastic high-five and proclaimed him the winner of the whole darn competition. He beat out older kids. He beat out experienced kids. I was overwhelmed with pride. I could not help myself. I ran to my child, expecting joy and excitement. I found instead a little boy choking back tears. He was frightened. He hurt his arm when he fell down and was surprised by the shear power of a live animal. The announcer asked him if he would like to return tomorrow to compete again and Zack responded with an emphatic "no!"
Did this disappoint me? Not in the least. Not only is my boy talented and athletic, he is damn smart. Who the hell wants to ride a dirty old sheep anyway?