Friday, August 12, 2011

7 Quick Takes

1 - Three baby goats were born this morning between 6:45 and 7:40. They didn't make it. They were small, perfectly formed nonetheless, and died at birth or shortly thereafter. This drought has been hard for my animals. It looks like the stress of birth was the last and final stress the little ones could take. The nanny is fine, though grieving. She is making this little lost baa noise in the back of her throat. It is driving me to second guesses and recriminations, the main one being if I had known of this drought, I'd have put off kidding for the year instead of putting it off so late.

2 - This afternoon we are celebrating our granddad's birthday. Dinner (which is Texan for a main meal of the day--at lunch) and a homemade card and he's at his happiest. He's easy to please.

3 - This evening we are trying our hand at baking bread on the grill. My neighbor bakes hers that way all through the summer. I'm determined to learn.

4 - Yesterday was supposed to be my day to fast and I hit the wall instead. I slept the afternoon away at my mother's when "I think I'll lay down with the baby for a minute" turned into a stressed induced snooze. I woke up almost as exhausted as I was when the light switched off. So I offered up going to my husband's retreat send-off (an hour or so of upbeat singing and energetic kid wrangling) in the place of fasting. It was an even trade.

5 - After all my years as a rebellious feminist, I find that putting a kitchen in order and vacuuming up crumbs resets me, stress-wise. All else may fall apart, but this, at least, is in order. This type of stress relief would have horrified my pre-conversion self, and even if I felt the same at that time in my life, I would never have admitted it, even to myself. God has graced me with many such ironies.

6 - I have discovered that now that my daughter is safely adopted, I am hit at random moments with the grief and loss and anxiety I felt each of the two times she was reassigned to live with various family members. This daughter's labor was three years long. Now that it is finely all over, I can safely touch that grief a little. Love hurts. Love loves anyway. I am so amazed at the miracle of her coming home again and being home finally. I will have to write her story for you someday. But not today. I have no more tears for this today.

7 - Sometimes grief is shared in the most unexpected of places. The daughter of one of my close friends, Margaret, was just hitting her teens when our Sissy was taken away the first time, and it was as if she were losing an adopted sister. I didn't ask why the love had grown between them, I just knew it when I saw it. She and I grieved the loss like we were two women, generations apart but in the same family, losing a little one. My friend experienced a surge of hope when she was returned to us a few months later. Part of my heartbreak of losing Sissy a second time was wrapped up in watching the newly healed grief reawaken like a living thing and tear at young Margaret as fiercely as I felt mine tearing at me. I can not tell you the joy of Sissy's return and adoption. Partly because I am refusing to touch it today and mostly because there are not words for such things. I am just able to share that suffering is something we do best together, even when it is inexpressible and untouchable, as are joys. I have never said much to Margaret about this, but when we lock eyes over that little one's head as we once locked eyes at the mention of her name, we can know a thing more than we can say. Even when that knowing takes place across generational and familial lines.

Jennifer Fulwiler
Thanks to Jennifer Fulwiler, a fellow Texan, for hosting
7 Quick Takes Friday 


  1. So sad about the goats ...

    about #3: have you ever tried grilling homemade pizza? It is absolutely delicious!

    #5: When I'm stressed, I clean out closets.

  2. Thanks, Bia. I'm determined to learn that skill, too. I have to by September when a friend is passing my way on her way home from an internship position out in California. I bribed her into stopping for dinner if I'd feed her grilled pizza!

  3. Sorry to hear about your goats. We just lost both our 5-mo-old wethers...bloat, we think, but we can't figure out how. (no drought here in NE OH) And it had to happen while the grandgirls were here.

  4. That is sad to hear, Jeffrey, especially with the grand babies there! Yesterday one of the other nannies went down with milk fever. I rushed her to the vet and have been giving her injections around the clock trying to save her ever since.