Last week as I was on my knees simultaneously scraping what by my best guess was a bloody booger off the wall and praying a runaway train barreled through our house to put a quick end to the spring break misery, I decided enough was enough. Fin. I pried the girls’ claws out of each others faces and announced that we were going on a spontaneous yet completely awesome overnight girls’ only road trip.
I called Nick at work, who was thrilled to have the night to himself and asked me to leave the Sonicare and take the parental control off the cable.
I tossed the portable princess potty into ye olde mini van and the girls and I ventured two hours west to Warm Springs Ranch, the Budweiser Clydesdale breeding farm.
While some might think an overnight road trip alone with a 2, 3 and 4-year-old is “ambitious”, or “stupid”, at this point in my life I could write an entire book on how to travel with kids. It would be called: McDonald’s. Starbucks. Pee. Repeat. Easy.
But something I’ve learned as a parent is that even the most tried and true plans hit an off day. And last week’s road trip reality would be called: McDonalds. Starbucks. Pee. Get back on the highway. Tell me you have to poop. I pull over. You don’t poop. Five minutes after I get back on the highway you tell me you have to poop again. I don’t believe you. You start to poop your pants. I pull over next to Rapeville, where said turd has crawled back up into your butt while I yell, “Poop dammit! We are all about to be killed! For christ sake POOOOOOP!”. You just sit there and stare at me as I prepare a plan for when zombies emerge and attack our van.
We finally arrived at the ranch, and I think I speak for all those who have expelled something of significance from their bodies that you know every one of us thinks the exact same thing when we see a newborn horse. The thing that makes us instinctively hunch over to protect our lady parts from the phantom hooves we can’t stop imagining coming out of us over and over and over and over.
And now I’m going to go here with this. Seeing the new Mom Clydesdales hanging out together with their little baby Clydesdales was, as I described it to Nick, spiritual.
Watching them there was a familiarity that resonated so deeply within me it almost brought me to tears. A collective consciousness – a team of freshmen, all communally baptized with the experience of shared terror, then immediate lifelong responsibility – both an unimaginable burden and explosive love that one cannot endure alone. Tethered together by a gentle electricity, which extended beyond the herd to me, a breathtaking reminder that all living things have been created by the same force. And I don’t know if anyone else on the tour wagon felt it, or if I sound like a crazy person right now. It’s difficult to put such a beautiful thing into words.
Maybe this will help… you know how, when you’re at a bar, and Baby Got Back comes on the sound system, and the minute you hear the dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun intro, everyone in the room just stops mid-sentence in their tracks and starts shaking their asses? And enemies become friends and lions and lambs start grinding all up on each other and all is right with the world even though no one has said a word?
It was sort of like that.
Anyhoo, after the tour we had free beer, which was also a significant spiritual experience.
My sister lives about 20 minutes away from the ranch so naturally the four of us descended upon her because, as my kids say, “Aunt Beth cooks for us.”
P.S. – staying the night at my sister and brother-in-laws house also comes with the added bonus of sleeping in my nephew’s bunk bed, where we are covered from head to toe in Spider Man paraphernalia. Usually it’s just me and one other girl on the bottom bunk, while someone sleeps on the top bunk and the baby sleeps in the pack and play in the other room.
But this particular night both girls wanted to sleep in the bed with me. Maybe because I looked so comfortable cramped alone in the small, tiny little bed meant for one human being. And I must have had some residual love fest on me from the horses because I said yes.
Now… I’m not sure if you’ve ever slept in a tiny bed meant for one human being with a 3 and 4-year old, and I was going to try to describe it. But then I thought pictures might do it more justice.
THE NEXT MORNING…
Warm Springs Ranch is located two hours west of St. Louis in Boonville, MO and home to more than 100 Clydesdales ranging from foals to stallions. Tours are offered April – October by reservation only. Reservations may be made by visiting their website or by calling 1-888-972-59331-888-972-5933.
DISCLOSURE: I was provided services, goods and/or monetary compensation for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. And my sister totally told me everyone can stay overnight at her house after your visit. She makes some mean Bs and Gs. PM me for her home address.