image-1 image-2 image-3(All photos courtesy of Gwen Melshaw. Thank you Gwen!)

Recently, I was visiting with a friend about raising daughters. Our daughters are in the same class at school and we were discussing the day in the (very distant) future when our girls will be teenagers. Specifically, we talked about our hopes that we can skillfully guide our daughters through those notoriously turbulent waters. She made the comment to me, “It really DOES take a village to raise children that become successful adults.”

As all parents, there are days when I am convinced I have completely failed my children and there is no hope they will become productive members of society. (What’s that you say? You don’t have those days? Hmm… well, according to my husband, there may be a slight chance that at times, I am just a bit over-dramatic. Anyhow…)

The tail end of my kids’ break from school found my family at our neighbor’s branding and I was reminded of my friend’s comment.image-8

It was a small branding, just the few people who live in the area were in attendance. Throughout the day, whether we were roping, branding, riding, or entertaining the kids, I was struck by the amazing people that are in our lives.

Good people, good cowboys, good friends. My children are truly blessed to have these folks in their lives to serve as positive influences and role models. With these folks providing the village to help raise my children, I find myself more optimistic about surviving the dreaded upcoming teenage years.

Back to the branding…
It was a windy, gusty day. Hats were flying, extra sweatshirts were untied from our saddles, and jackets were zipped up tight. This low-key event was perfect for my kids to throw a few loops. My nine-year old had a great day in the branding pen. He caught several calves and had a huge smile on his face the whole time.


And just in case you didn’t know, it’s very important to bring your own firefighter to a branding. Four-year old firefighters (with cute cowgirl sidekicks) are particularly in high demand this season.image-5