Monday, December 5, 2011

How to Make a Cowboy

During my single college years, I had an ideal. I'm sure everyone does, but mine was very specific: a dark-haired cowboy. And not just any cowboy. Mine had to be a good Mormon cowboy. Which narrowed the field. Considerably. But I was determined that becoming a country wife on some desolate ranch was part of my destiny.

One afternoon at work, I got into a conversation with a wise co-worker about dating and how hard it was to meet anyone. He told me about a girl he really liked who wasn't sure if she wanted to date him because she had always pictured herself with someone more athletic.

I laughed out loud. "That's ridiculous!" Then I caught myself, remembering my cowboy obsession. But I was different, I explained to him. I wanted a cowboy because horses were a big part of my life and I wanted them to always be, not just because I'd always pictured myself with a cowboy.

"Bags," he said, which is what most of my friends called me back then, "don't you think that even if a guy isn't a cowboy, if he loves you, he'll learn about horses and how to ride? As long as he has all the really important qualities you want in a guy, the less-important ones will work themselves out."

As hard as it was for me to admit to myself, it made sense. Perfect sense, actually. I wondered how many great guys I had passed over because they didn't meet my ideal. Taking my friend's advice to heart, I decided to start dating with a more open mind.

Fast-foward two years. I meet Mr. Brown Eyes, who is not dark-haired or a cowboy. But I throw my ideal to the wind because I am so in love with everything about him.

And, wouldn't you know it, things unfolded just the way my co-worker said they would.

Even though he didn't know anything about horses, Mr. Brown Eyes was fully supportive of my desire to buy a house with horse property. Then he spent an entire July afternoon in the thick, blistering summer heat, welding a fence so my horse, Sultan, could come live with us. He shoveled manure, loaded hay, stayed home when the horseshoer came, even listened to Sultan's bowel sounds with a stethoscope on several occasions when Sultan refused to eat.

Nope, he wasn't a cowboy.

But he loved me, and took an interest in what I loved. Which made me so happy, I couldn't believe I had ever thought that marrying a cowboy was so important. I never really imagined that a few years later he would be loping around the pasture on a horse of his own, that we would be riding together into the sunset, that he would be asking for a cowboy hat and boots for Christmas.

Oh, and a holster for his cowboy gun.

That wasn't really part of my vision. But I'll take it.

Turns out setting aside my silly ideal was some of the best advice I've ever taken.

I've got my cowboy,
The Brown-Eyed Girl


Jilly said...

Awe :) I think this is one of my favotire posts :)

Rachel Kirkaldie said...

Thanks Jill. :)