Stephanie Pearce: Love your kids, even when they push you away

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Stephanie Pearce

The other night I was standing at the round pen watching my daughter work a yearling colt. As I stood there I took pictures. I also watched in awe as she got this horse to turn directions on cue. Later, she got the halter and lead line on him.

In typical teenage fashion she flashed me dirty looks between smiles and told me to quit taking pictures. I laughed and ignored her. I couldn't think of anything more beautiful than my girl and her horse.

I'm sure every parent has these moments where they look at their kids and can't think of a time they were more proud. Where you wish time would stand still for a while. For me, this was one of those moments.

But this moment turned scary for me very quickly. My daughter turned and looked at me. I thought she was going to complain about pictures again, but she didn't. She walked toward the rail of the round pen and said, "I can't breathe." She started wheezing and her lips started turning blue. She just stared at me with tears welling up in her eyes, not able to speak while I froze.

I got her through the fence. My husband got her inhaler and I told her to breathe out and got her calmed down by breathing with her.

She has had asthma since she was little, but had never had an attack like this before. My girl is tough and doesn't cry — she may get fighting mad — but rarely cries, so I knew this scared her as much as it did me.

Watching your child suffer, even if for just a moment, is one of the worst feelings in the world. I couldn't believe how fast this all happened. How one second she is smiling and telling me not to take a picture and the next be gasping for air with tears in her eyes unable to speak.

It seemed as fast as the attack came on, it went away. After she used her inhaler, we breathed for a second, and she took a swig of water. She looked at me and said she was going to go ride her horse and she did. Did I mention she's kind of tough?

So, love your kids. When they try to push you away, don't listen, as the next second they may need you — even for just a moment. And don't ever be afraid to brag about your kids. Let them hear you. They need to know how proud you are of them. These years with them go too fast to not love them every chance and every way you can.

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