The first place I ever stopped at in Kansas was here, at the Norton Livestock Auction. Matt and I had only been dating about two years, I had never been to the midwest, let alone sat in on a real-life cattle auction. (How much of a city girl I really was, yet didn't even know it) You know how certain things just stick with you, as something you'll always remember? I'll never forget standing on the wooden fence, leaning in to see the tops of the cattle waiting out back to be brought in for the sale. I'll never forget the green paint and the men sitting there with their trucker hats, blue jeans, and boots hardly saying a word yet purchasing thousands of pounds of steer. The sale barn was my first impression of this place Dorothy called home. And so, on our way back to Colorado, after our latest Kansas trip a few weekends ago, I asked Matt to drive over to the Sale Barn. The green is still just the same, and that fence is always ready to be climbed up on and leaned upon, with cattle out back waiting for the next sale or to be picked up and driven to their next landing pad. I love that I married Matt and can know his grandparents. I love that his grandpa Clarence, approaching 80, or already 80, still owns this place and runs it with all of his heart and soul. I love that God gives us moments of quiet, where a barn cat's meow is the only sound competing with the warm summer wind. I love that there is this place, way out in Kansas, that I have gotten to see and have memories of. Its moments like this that make me want to get in my car and go see more of this land, this space, and spend time in the small towns I'd otherwise miss.
My grandmother passed away this week, and it's really just made me so thankful for family. So grateful that I've had time with all of my grandparents, and Matt's Kansas grandma and grandpa too, because places like the Norton Sale Barn, or stories of my grandpa's farm in North Dakota, my grandma Pat's sorority days at UCLA, and my Poppie's time working in his garage wood-shop - these are all the foundation of what our family is today. These roots, these memories they've told countless times, the stories they took the time to tell, and now what lingers with me: these are precious gifts. I'm reminded after visiting Kansas this past month, and with my grandma's passing, that one day there won't be the Norton Livestock Auction. One day there won't be a grandfather's voice to tell you things like, "kiss and pinch appropriately". One day there won't be grandma's house to gather at with her dress up box and expansive front lawn. One day, the season shifts, life goes, and then its time for mothers to become grandmothers, daughters to be mothers, and new stories to tell to little ones.
I guess its just really hitting me that I'm in that season. More than ever before I'm feeling the necessity to go and see and experience and listen to stories of the past while the people who are still here can tell them. I want to wrap them up, treasure them, and hold onto them for my own children someday. I'm feeling more than ever this shift, this need to have my own family and show them all the places while I still remember the details. I want them to sit with my mom, and my uncles, and know the things of the past. I want them to have that gift, just I had it.
So where was this post going? I just intended this to be a snippet from our Kansas visit, and now here I am getting all reflective and writing about being a mother. How easily that happened.