For as long as I have known my husband, Bob Schulenberg, he has attracted the little girls. It surprises me every time I see it happen, although it probably shouldn’t by now. Bob got used to little girls when he became a daddy, first to our daughter, Corrie Petersen, and then our daughter, Amy Royce. They thought their daddy hung the moon, and I had to agree with them…he has always been a special kind of guy. Still, I can’t quite understand why it is always the little girls who tend to flock to Bob. It’s not little kids in general…it’s little girls. Of course, the little boys like him too…especially his grandsons, but the little boys are usually not the ones who come running up to Bob, or shyly wave at him, even when they don’t know him…that is the little girls. Of course, Bob would never pickup a little girl who was not the child of a friend, but that does not stop them from saying “Hi” and waving at him. Our own girls loved hanging out with their dad, and if he was working on a vehicle, they might be lifted up to stand on the bumper or they might be riding their bicycle nearby. Our grandchildren, Chris Petersen, Shai Royce, Caalab Royce, and Josh Petersen, also loved to be picked up by their Papa, and to this day, he is their go-to mechanic when something is wrong with their vehicles, or anything else he can help with.
One little girl in particular, Brooke Cardinal, who passed away at seven and who we miss very much, was very taken with Bob. Her grandpa, our friend Edd Cardinal ran the bowling alley in Casper, and both our family and his spent a lot of time down there. Brooke couldn’t wait for Bob to come in on bowling nights. She was waiting at the door for her hug. I even teased her mom, Dani Cardinal that Bob had a girlfriend. She was ready to kill him for cheating on me, until she found out that his “girlfriend” was her own little Brooke, who was about four years old then. Bob was forgiven for having a girlfriend, but the “girlfriends” didn’t stop there. Whenever we go to a restaurant and there is a little girl around, they always notice and wave to Bob. When we are out walking on the trail, at Sunrise Shopping Center, or the mall, little girls wave. And on New Year’s Eve, the next generation of girlfriends obviously arrived, when my grandniece, Aleesia Spethman took a shine to Bob, and hung around him much of the night.
Bob is a great guy, with a gentle heart, and that is one of the things that attracted me to him in the first place, but never in a million years would I have expected that every little girl within a mile radius of him would seek him out for the sole purpose of saying “Hi” and waving at him. It’s almost like he is a little girl magnet. Some day, maybe I’ll figure out just what it is about Bob that catches their eye, but until that day, and even beyond, I’m sure, I will have to share him with every little girl who comes into view, because he sure attracts them.
For children who are raised around livestock, walking among the giants is not an unusual event…even when they are as young as one year old and just barely walking themselves. For those of us who are not around livestock on a daily basis, the thought of those little tiny children walking among those giant horses is not so common, and therefore a bit of a shock to our system when we see it. It’s not that I think that my niece, Ashley Parmely’s parents’ horses would hurt her girls, Reagan and Hattie, because they are obviously very gentle. No, what I really find amazing about seeing the girls with the horses is an absolute lack of fear. They have been raised around the horses, and the other animals they raise, so they know how to act around them. They know that the horses will be gentle to them, if they are gently toward the horses, and what I find especially sweet, is the instinctive gentleness the girls have around the horses.
So many kids tend to pet an animal roughly, pull on its tail, or even hit the animal, but Reagan and Hattie have a deep love for their horses, and they are so gentle with them. The horses, in kind, return that love back to the girls. Their feelings are just so obvious. You might not think that an animal can have a look of love on their face, but I think these horses do. I’m sure my nephew, Eric Parmely, and Ashley, his wife, have taken the necessary time to prepare the horses for these little girls to be around them, and especially on the ground near their feet, and I’m sure they have taught the girls how to act around the horses too. Still, how much teaching can a three year old and a one year old have had to have prepared them to be so gentle around these giants. Yet, they are just that…gentle, sweet, and loving toward the horses.
Animals can sense things about people. They know when people are afraid. They can tell when people will be mean. And they can tell when a person is kind and gentle. And I think that with Eric and Ashley’s little girls, Reagan and Hattie, the horses sense a loving kindness and a desire to care for the horses that many children just don’t possess. I don’t know if Ashley was always raised around horses or not, but for as long as this family has known her, she has been around her parents horses. To her they are a part of the family, and that is how she is raising her little girls too. It’s really no wonder that the girls are at ease around the horses, and the horses around them. The girls probably seem like little sisters to them.
Nevertheless, I am still amazed that these two little girls are comfortable walking around with these giants. To me, the mere size of these horses would seem daunting if I were a girl as little as these girls. I love looking at these pictures though, because they portray a companionship that is very rare in the world I live in. I suppose that if I was raised on a ranch, maybe they would not seem so astonishing. And since, Reagan and Hattie will be raised in that environment, I suppose these are scenes that will not be so unusual. I think that these little girls will be very blessed to be comfortable, and yes, to just be allowed to walk among these giants.
Little girls usually have such fine hair that it seems to have a mind of its own. Mothers can try just about anything they can think of to keep it down, but it does no good. I think sometimes the only thing that will keep a little girl’s hair under control is Elmer’s Glue, and that would be a little odd!! I suppose the kids might find that fun, but I can only imagine how awful it would be come bath time. Other than that, I seriously doubt if most little girls care about having glue or anything else in their hair, and in fact, will gladly put food, or any other sticky thing in their hair that they can get their hands on, if you let them. In fact, I think my grand niece, Aurora likes looking goofy. She loves to laugh about being a silly girl…especially if she can make other people laugh too.
The way those little girls’ hair looks after they have been sleeping is especially funny. We’ve all had bedhead, but most of us brush our hair before anyone ever gets to see our hair. These poor little girls are forced to sit there for that wonderful bedhead picture, while we laugh at the end result…and yes, I have laughed too. I don’t believe the little girls in our pictures really care about what their hair looks like, at least not until they become teenagers, when they might find the pictures embarrassing, but I highly doubt it. Little kids are too busy having fun, and from what I’ve seen with my own girls and granddaughter, those goofy bad hair day pictures are something they love to laugh about.
Now, take a step backward in time, and you will find that the thing the women had to tie up the unruly hair of their little girls were not as good as they are today. They didn’t have hair clips, ties, and rubber bands, but rather used ribbons, which didn’t really stay in, as most of us know. I’m sure that is partly why my mother-in-law’s hair was such a mess as she played with her dog on that windy day. It didn’t bother her at all, except that she kept having to brush it out of her eyes. That is really the only reason any of us are bothered when our hair is flying around completely out of control…except for the snarls that is. Some things just come with the territory, and I guess, snarls, hair in our faces, and otherwise wind blown hair, are simply a part of life, and what girl among us has never had bedhead, a bad hair day, or wild hair…not one of us, right.
Little girls love to mimic their moms. They see their mom getting ready for the day, and putting on their makeup, and taking great care with every detail, and they learn that this ritual is something very important. Little girls want to be just like their mom, because they love her and they think she is the most beautiful mom in the whole world. These are moments you wish could last forever…the moments before you become a total embarrassment to your child, as most parents do when their kids reach adolescence. For a time…a short time, you are just exactly what they want to be…until you become old fashioned, that is.
Like most girls, Corrie and Amy loved to play dress up, and makeup was a big part of that. I had to really keep an eye on my makeup or I might just find out that it wasn’t lasting quite as long as it really should. Of course, Corrie, being the oldest, was a little better at getting enough makeup on her face than Amy was, until Amy was a little older, that is. My girls always wanted to do the things I was doing, and not just in the area of makeup. I guess it is part of the whole finding yourself process. Before you can find yourself, you have to try out a few different possibilities.
Sure, as mom’s we look back on those moments as maybe a waste of good makeup, or a mess we had to clean up, but in reality it was so much more than an inconvenience…it was a rite of passage, I suppose. Boys are encouraged to have a rite of passage, so why not girls. It is part of becoming a
woman, but it certainly can be funny as they try to get it just right. And to ask them, it was perfect.
It is just what little girls are all about. It is in their makeup, pun definitely intended. In a desperate attempt to save my makeup, I finally bought the girls some of their own…the kid variety of course. They used the fake stuff, until they realized that it didn’t show up on their faces, and then we had to get something different. They went around with all sorts of different looks. It didn’t really matter, because girls will be girls, and I have seen some very different looks on bigger girls than mine.
Most families have a variety if heights when it comes to their members. Our family, on Bob’s side, is no different. Our tallest person is Lynn at 6’6″ and our shortest adult is Amy at 4’11”. Some things never change. Amy has been the littlest in our family practically from day one, as I’m pretty sure she was not paying attention when the growth instructions were being given out. And so begins my story.
Bob’s dad’s garage was the workshop of choice for many years when our girls were little, because we didn’t have a garage. It was the same for my sister-in-law, Debbie and her husband, Lynn. Also, Bob and I were living on my in-laws land, while we were getting our own newly purchased land ready to move our mobile home onto. Bob was always working on a car…either his own, or someone else’s…as I said, some things never change. Debbie and Lynn were out at my in-laws place too, and so that meant that we had 3 little girls running around as well.
Amy loved to hang out with her daddy, and it didn’t matter to her what he was doing, so this particular day found her hanging out in the garage, where Bob was changing the oil in our car. Amy was just wandering around the garage, when her Uncle Lynn came in and started talking to her. For a time, I thought the problem might have been that Amy was afraid of her uncle, because he was so tall, and she was so very little, but as I have thought about this event over the years, I know she wasn’t, because Amy has never been afraid of much, and if she was…wow, could she scream!! You would have known she was afraid or at the very least, unhappy with the situation. So, when her Uncle Lynn started talking to her, it was a very long ways for this little 2’5″ girl to look up to Lynn’s 6’6″ height. In doing so, she began backing up, and backed right into the now full oil pan that her daddy had used to drain the oil out of our car. I can still see the look of shock on everyone’s faces, including little Amy, who was wearing one of my favorite little dresses, a white dress with red hearts on it…which was now, of course, very black…at least the back of it anyway, as was it’s owner, practically from head to toe. She could totally fit in that oil pan, which was about 2′ across.
I picked her up…carefully, and pulled her dress off of her so we could clean her up, surprised that she wasn’t screaming. I assumed that the dress was a total loss, but unbelievably, it came completely clean, and lived to be worn for quite some time afterward, since Amy, with her slowness of growth, always wore her clothes out before outgrowing them.