Tuesday, February 11, 2014

A Mother By Any Other Name...

Some days come with a theme. Today’s theme: “Mothers”

To set the scene, my one “off the farm” scheduled appointment this day was taking my mom for a doctor’s visit…something I blocked half my day for; something I needed and wanted to be there for.

Despite the obvious instinct to be there, I was still, a typical daughter, frustrated with an appointment booked before noon. (Hello? I have farm chores here. Getting 4-legged mother and babies in sync (if not stalls) takes time. Why I didn’t control the scheduling was my bad.) --To be clear: This had nothing to do with Mom. It was pure me, going too fast… But today, it took on new meaning. In the words of my man Trace: “You’re gonna miss this.” Those words, like an earworm, went round and round in my head all day.)

So I call Mom to confirm I’d re-arranged other meetings, so yes, let’s ride together from Lebanon to Nashville and back. We can catch up on girl things while in the car…

“Can we have lunch?” (Answer: Doubtful. I’m behind already.)

“Can we maybe swing by the mall?” (Answer: Seriously...Mom?  Have you SEEN my wardrobe lately? I live in a cover up and whatever jeans I left lying on the bathroom floor the night before. My shopping gene is ker-plut. It’s been officially replaced by a newspaper-placin’/ poop-scoopin’ love-your-babies-morning-noon-and night gene. Not always pretty, but I own it.  As goes the weather, so goes my life. It’s all over the map.)

Let the record reflect…(and I PRAY you, gentle reader, get this)….there is nothing glamorous happening physically while all this (so-called) wisdom is setting in. To the contrary…My life these days is about as ordinary as it gets. It’s actually beneath ordinary. I’ll refrain from cursing, but may I just say, my physical environ is about as “shtty” as it gets, and I DO mean that literally, though the poignant moments are…well…poignant.)

But what was really pushing my buttons today was less about my mom…more about the other moms in my world… So allow me to set the scene:

Rosey—This girl’s best friend/my big white Pyr – Mother of 7 adorable Rosey-clone babies just like her—“LOVE” in a dog body if ever it was packaged, but as it turns out, Rosey is no longer INTO mothering. “YOU” (she says to me…through her eyes) Get ‘em gone. I’m tired.” Love ya. Mean it. Over it. When can it just be “us” again?”

I hear her. And I take her dang seriously.

Don’t get me wrong. She’s still a super mom.  Rosey still sniffs butts. She licks when needed. She lactates all over the floor, but she now dodges the puppies with little teeth to go with their little claws that live to follow her about like the Pied Piper.

Yep. Rosey is ready to hang up her (maternal) duties. Hormones recalibrated--babies, now fully weaned and loving life and people and toys and food like nobody’s business, are good to go. They wiggle, pee, poop, yelp, anytime something new hits the door.  Rosey sez, “OK. I did my job. You kids are on your own. (Mama…can you cook me a burger now?)” That’s my Rosey.

I called the vet to see if pups could go to their new homes early (as in, before 6 full weeks)…Turns out: they can!  (provided whoever takes them really knows about pups and shots and all the immunization things required)... But back to the theme of this blog, which is all about “Mothers”…Please allow me to introduce the rest of the cast of characters:

Blackie, my solid black, Pygmy goat mama, first to give birth…(to Pippi, no less…a perfect, perky, pippy, hopping baby goat, born a week ago today…despite the cold, the damp, and all odds working against her. (Dear God, Thank you for letting Pippi be the first one out of the shoot—so to speak…) I needed Pippi’s energy to brace me for the rest of what was to follow…not the least of which was:

Blackie (getting back to the theme of this blog)… Blackie is the mother of all mothers. If you looked up “maternal” in the dictionary, you’d see Blackie’s solid black little goat face. Not only does she nurse her baby, she nurses any one else’s baby who’s hangin' near the water cooler (i.e. water bucket)…When other mothers are feeling less than (shall we say) “maternal”…Blackie’s there…ready to pick up where those slacker moms leave off, as is the case with:

Casper…the (so called) “friendly goat” …Turns out, Casper’s growing less friendly by the day. What she IS growing into is INDEPENDENT, which would be great, save for the fact that her baby “Angel” (the one with angel wings painted on her little silver sides)...is still nursing. Hello?  Casper is (to put it mildly) “on again/off again” when it comes to the regularity of this concept. If there’s a new bale of hay or another round of …you name it—water buckets, goat feed, goat-anything…Casper’s the first one out the door to check things out..never to return. Wouldn’t exactly call her the poster child for maternal…Lucky for her, Blackie IS my poster child for maternal, and despite the fact that Blackie is about 1/2  Casper’s size in girth, Blackie is loyal. And she’s the mother of all mothers. I’m tellin’ ya…She’s there til the end. She’ll feed hers, yours, the neighbors…Heck, she’d probably feed one of Rosey’s pups if it came down to it. She is THERE doing the job for those like Casper who have better things in mind… (I know. I know. Things like this DO happen in nature, but it is odd with goats to see it come to this…Blackie is there for the needs (and cries) of not only HER child, but of Casper’s child (who is, granted, an angel…But Blackie doesn’t know that. She just knows someone’s mama is out scarfin’ up hay, leavin’ a baby behind, and…well…Blackie’s got an extra spigot, so “Ok Kid. Latch on.”  She must’ve cut a deal with the arch angel Gabrielle before bringing that kid in…Maybe Angel is  “John the Baptist-Goat” and Blackie is Mary…Who can say? All I know is Casper is not your typical Pygmy goat mama….or a great mama, period…which brings me to tell you about…

Donner. (Yes, named for the reindeer.) Donner had twins first time out. She’s the mother of Callie and Coco, who are cutely, in the backdrop of most every picture ever taken from here. This time around she birthed twins again, only one of them didn’t make it. The one that did, is half the size of anything going.  The surviving twin is a perfect little angel girl named “Anna Karinina” …(For the Record:  Olympics had just started at this stage of birthing things; I was tired… so I deemed all names going forward to be Russian. That Anna (Ak for short) was literally HALF the size of anything else that got born that week, I decided to give her the longest name possible, just for moral support. She’s tiny. But she’s likewise, an angel (only unlike Angel- with the wings), AK is solid black, with white ears… She’s also the teensiest baby in the lot…Heck, teensiest baby I’ve ever seen born to survive. Good news for her, everybody from Blackie to Donner to (yes) even Casper, doesn’t notice when she latches on to someone not her mom because someone (must’ve been a stall-mate) convinced her that no one would even notice if she decided to join in come dinner or breakfast time. (So far, this is proving to be true. She’s no bigger than a minute. I don’t know if the other mamas are feeling charitable…or just not feeling her at all….But she manages just fine. Not only are they angels, they HAVE their own angels. It’s all I can figure.)
While NOT a mama in any sense of the word…I must take a moment to tell you about TJ…(Rosey’s brother…EXTREMELY large, white Pyr…large body, large heart…but most of all, VERY large head and jawls (which drool…and drool…and drool)

TJ (for reasons I cannot explain/do not understand) has become particularly fond of Angel (with the wings) goat. Let me be more specific: TJ LOVES Angel. He is IN love with Angel. His every waking thought is about how to get CLOSER to Angel. How to let her know he loves her and has her in his sites. I don’t know how else to put this, but try to imagine a 150+ pound dog rolling over and playing coy with a goat that might, when wet, weigh 2 pounds (given it is about a week old).

TJ LOVES Angel. (“Smitten” may be the better word…Hard to say. Good Lord, I’m a writer and best I can say is “TJ is smitten.” But it defines the moment.)

What this means (in “TJ-Speak”) is that TJ wanted (and still wants) to “kiss” Angel, all day, every day…every moment of every day…a problem first brought to my attention on day TWO of Angel’s very fragile existence on planet earth when I spot TJ (who is one slobbering, drooley, VERY large-headed, angel of a dog) cleaning little Angel, to the point of nearly freezing the poor baby to death. (It was about 22 degrees on this particular day.) I’d left the door open all of 10 minutes while toting water buckets in from the (heated/indoor) faucet, and out to their (heat-lamp-heated) stalls, and came out to find poor little Angel (with-the-white-wings) … shivering to the point of near exhaustion-- ice-cycles forming on her new little silver coat—why? Because TJ had nearly licked her into a pop cycle, and no one would’ve been more upset than TJ had I not found her when I did. Forget TJ (all 155 pounds of him) HURTING her (all two pounds of her). TJ’s jawls could’ve taken her in one big “CHOMP” --but this was not my concern, nor was it TJs intention. My concern was and IS TJ LOVING this baby to death, by way of his licking her clean and keeping her warm in his own, TJ way…All innocent…Purely TJ.—His way of saying: “If I clean her, can we keep her?” (Like we’re not gonna keep her already…) That’s TJ. (All male. All huge. All the time. Like Rosey Greer knitting scarves, nobody’s gonna make fun of TJ being feminine this way...To be clear, TJ is the world’s largest wuss.)

So between Rosey, Blackie, Casper, Donner, and TJ (which includes babies: Pippi, Angel, Sochi, Stoli and Anna Karinina) not to mention the mothers of those last 3, whose stories I spare you here…It’s not easy breaking away from all this to tend to my OWN mother for reasons that are typical of mothers and daughters.

This to say, (returning to said theme of said blog) life in the role of a mother (if not a daughter) is not without its moments…this day, having had far too many for me to count.

And thus I end it (blog and day) …praying to God to keep me sane for yet another, for I haven’t even begun to update you on the latest puppy happenings or garden plans or weekend activities that involve the neighbor’s child who will no doubt, break into tears when I tell her this is to be some of our pups last weekend around these parts,…

Peaceful being so near nature, yes. But not without its sadder moments…

All I can do to focus on the sweet and not dwell too much on the rest.

Speaking of which, it's rest I crave...
(My inside dog, Minsky, is snoring..serving only to remind how late it is.)

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