It is an odd realization to walk into the dining room the morning of August 25th and not be greeted by contagious giggles, smiles lacking two front teeth, clusters of teens chatting about inside jokes made at camp-out and miniature cowboys walking around the cereal buffet. Just as the aspens begin to shift into their autumn beauty, the Paradise crowd gains a new atmosphere as we say goodbye to the kids and begin our adult weeks at the ranch.
I didn't expect it to feel so different to not have the family atmosphere, but at the end of the first adult week, I realized I missed so many details about experiencing the hustle and bustle of family weeks. From my desk in the office, I had a great view of the picturesque kids program counselors walking hand-in-hand with little cowboys and cowgirls walking down to the barn to bottle-feed the calves every morning. At the beginning of the summer I couldn’t help myself to run out everyday at 8:30am and take my post-card perfect photo of the back of little cowboy hats, pink boots decked out in rhinestones, and mini chinks walking away to the barn. Luckily for our guests, we have multiple crew members that man the cameras. Eventually I realized that I had an entire memory card filled with little cowboys and cowgirls... and not much else. It was just too adorable to pass up.
Even our beautiful horses have been looking a bit bland on Saturday afternoons without their backsides branded with bright colors from our kid's masterpiece paint jobs. Not only do we miss the painted horses, but also our little buckaroo’s colorful cheeks as well. Kid's rodeos were a highlight of my week. I'm still trying to convince Tex, one of our rodeo clowns, to come to the barn dressed crazy, face coated in paint, doing his rope tricks at the barn one day. Apparently, it's not as easy to rope fourteen full-grown adults. Needless to say, I was disappointed.
Some of the other crew have often told me that, despite my adult age, I am a kid at heart. Maybe that is why my DVD collection is ninety percent dedicated to Walt Disney's life work; maybe that is why I get excited opening a brand new box of crayons; maybe that is why the nostalgia of family weeks comes so easily to me. Despite my longing for little cowboy hugs at the hip and s'more covered smiles during campfire singalong, I also look forward to four weeks of great conversation with guests over a glass of wine and the flexibility that comes with the smaller group sizes. After a summer of family fun flew by, the relaxed pace of adult weeks is definitely something to be appreciated. Each autumn week brings more color in the trees and more guests to enjoy!