Today round two of interviews and writing stories began. I’ve been able to talk with some real Navajos! They are such an interesting group of people that have been treated so badly.
Anyway, since round one of writing and photographing occurred in places without wi-fi I haven’t been able to share the beautiful things I have learned about New Mexico earlier this week.
My time in the “Land of Enchantment” began with a two-night stay at the Baptist Children’s Home. I was asked to write a story on Mark and Tara, a couple who work as house parents at the children’s home. Mark actually grew up there, and now he has brought is family back to serve the children living as he used to.
I must say, being raised Southern, that the people of the West are definitely no-nonsense, strong-willed, independent people. One of my favorite moments of my meet-us-at-the-barn-by-seven morning was when Mark overheard one of the boys using some inappropriate language. His response? He whacked the boy in the back of the head (not too harsh, just enough to surprise him) and said in a typical disciplinarian dad tone, “Watch your mouth.”
Anyway, in addition to the five teenage boys the couple houses, they have two young children of their own. Both under the age of six, Jocalyn and Landon are two of the cutest children I have seen in a while.
Unlike her mother who was only seen once during our two-day stay without her cowboy hat on, the first thing Jocalyn showed me upon arriving at her family’s home was her assortment of pink toys and fancy dresses.
Then there’s Landon, who had recently shut one of his fingers in a door. After showing me his wound I asked him and his sister if he cried. Landon shied away and Jocalyn replied, “Yeah, he cried a lot.” Landon was so quiet but so ready to play!
It was so amazing to see that even though their parents’ attention is now somewhat divided because of the boys that live with them, these two little children weren’t fazed at all. They were so content to just run around the yard with each other. We really should be thankful for anyone we have in our lives, you know? Even if it is a snotty little brother or sister.
Their parents were both so wonderful too. Mark and Tara were the first cowboys I have ever met. And, I promise, they are legit. Both clad in red plaid collared shirts, worn-out jeans, boots, and cowboy hats, this couple looked ready to herd. Once upon it time it was cattle, but now it’s children, and the couple seems just as content to run around with the kids as they were with cows and horses.
Tara was even able to find a little time to play with her two little ones on the horses at the home’s barn.
Even though it’s posted a little late, my first New Mexican lesson was one of valuing independence, strength, and love. Who knows, maybe I’ll return to the good ol’ South with a little of that New Mexican spirit of self-reliance.