Wednesday, September 1, 2021

The Orphan Non-Orphan

Our situation with Epona is quite unique. Usually, when a foal is separated early from their mother it's because the mother died. In our case, mother was still alive, and well, and occupying a stall next to her baby. We didn't know how that would turn out, but it seems that Epona has been able to preserve a very strong bond with mama. She listens to her, and she does what she's told. She returns to her for safety and comfort. Cowgirl wields a mighty hand over the herd, even from a distance. They listen to her, too. No movement is made by the herd, or Epona, that Cowgirl does not approve, and Cowgirl does not want Epona near the herd without her.

Because of that, Epona hasn't developed a lot of the bad orphan behaviors. She is still very much a horse. A horse who LOVES people, yes, but a horse who still understands horse, and more importantly, you don't disrespect your mama!

We count the days to when we can put them fully back together safely, and that day will be coming soon. We have to know she won't try to nurse and Cowgirl won't develop milk for her again.

I'm happy we have gotten to this point. A month ago I wasn't sure we would. 


On another note, my daughter's husband was offered an amazing job a couple of months ago. It was an offer he couldn't refuse, but it came at a high cost. The job he'd had for eleven years had given him extended paternity leave, and an opportunity to work from home for as long as he needed. The new job offered him more money, stocks, bonuses, and a chance to earn what he wanted to earn while staying put in this city. (The old job would require moving to another location for upward mobility.) 

Well, in the theme of everything else this year, it became complicated quickly. The new job, at the local location, has been postponed because the company unknowingly built on tribal wetlands (I have no idea how such a large corporation could make that mistake.) Construction has been delayed. Instead of opening in October, they will be open, at the earliest, in April. 

Sadly, this new set of circumstances will take him away from here at the exact time their baby is being born. He can fly back and forth, but it will be a miracle if he makes it for the birth. And, he will have to work at a location on the other side of the state until the building is complete, which may require them moving, temporarily, to the other side of the state in the meantime.

What is the theme of this year? Curveballs. Lots and lots of curveballs. I feel like a batter with 2 strikes and 3 balls, constantly swinging at curveballs, and tipping them just enough to stay in the game. Crazy times.

I was talking to my mom the other day, and each of us knows several people who have been diagnosed with cancer this year. More than usual, and younger than usual. I have a friend with stage IV lung cancer, and she is only 59. I have a friend with stage IV prostate cancer, who retired and June and found it in July. He is 62. I have a friend who told me yesterday she has breast cancer. She is 60, and her husband retired this week, too. It makes me wonder what is happening. Is it just the age I'm at, or are these difficult times resulting in more sickness?

I'm not sure what the answer is, but I do know it is important to focus on the positives, even in the hardest times--to focus on every miracle, however small it may seem. To be thankful for every day, hour, minute, because it is a gift to be alive and still swinging at the curveballs.

In a month, I will be in a hospital room watching my grandson enter into this crazy, wonderful world. I will be watching Epona move past all her struggles into maturity. 

How lucky am I to be a witness to all of this? 

The other theme of this year has been the power of "empty hands," not being able to control the future, but open to doing whatever it takes. To be of service even when the prospects look bleak. Sometimes, we get the outcome of our deepest heart wishes, and sometimes, we do everything humanly possible and do not. 

I remember when I said I looked forward to Epona being naughty again. Well, that has arrived, and I'll leave you with a little Epona fun. The flag is my friend when it comes to that little stinker.

Flag to the rescue.


  1. Love seeing Epona's spirit back! You/your family sure went above and beyond for your spunky girl. Nothing short of wonderful. Great pics & video, complete with Fall attire. I can't wait to wear vests! Kudos to your hubby/daughter. Altho I do love action shots, my fav photo is you and Epona's shadow combined (right above words "flag to the rescue"). Your daughter by the way looks great, especially for being close to her due date. Truly hope her hubby doesn't miss out on the delivery and special early moments with their first born.

    As far as the increase in surrounding serious illness, I think in part it has to do with age (ours and theirs). Also advanced medical technology & the unnatural lifestyles humans live now. Agreed, it is best in moments of darkness to keep looking for the positive light. At least that is what I keep telling myself. You are indeed very lucky & blessed!

    1. The weather here has been amazing—sunny and 70’s. Cool in the morning and evenings. Poor Epona was born into the worst of it, and is only now realizing how wonderful it can be! She lived through some of the hottest, smokiest days on record when she was at her most fragile! When I go out there now, it’s like a completely different world. Love it!!

      Shiloh is very healthy now, and also plowed through. She’s still working and staying busy, and feels great.

      Caretaking Epona has been one of the most profound experiences of my life. There was so much emotion, history, love, loss, fear, hope and resignation mixed into it. It dug up the past, it intertwined with the present—it revealed my weaknesses and strengths. I wouldn’t wish the experience on myself, or anyone, but it changed me and taught me many valuable lessons I can apply in other situations.

    2. 'Instead of possibilities, I have realities in my past, not only the reality of work done and of love loved, but of sufferings bravely suffered. These sufferings are even the things of which I am most proud, although these are things which cannot inspire envy.“ Victor Frankl

      This conversation reminded me of his book, Man’s Search for Meaning.

  2. Epona is looking very good with lots of fiestiness(is that even a word?) thrown in for good measure. I'm sure she and Cowgirl will enjoy getting back together when it is safe to do so. It's good that Cowgirl is still teaching her "horse" behavior. It's just so good to see Epona thriving.

    Your daughter looks great. The opportunities with the new job sound very good it's just a shame he won't be there for all the new baby stuff in the beginning. But it will all work out in the end for the better. I'm sure he'll be there as much as he can and let's not forget there's always Grandma and Grandpa to lend a hand when needed.

    As for everything else including all the illness in our lives. I think part of it is due to people not going to doctor's regularly and taking care of themselves. The sooner you detect something the better chance you have of surviving. But that's not a guarantee either at times. Still we have to deal with whatever issues come our way. I also think having a good attitude towards circumstances helps with whatever mental or physical issues come our way.

    1. I agree. Seeing Epona thrive is good for the soul. That she was able to stay with Cowgirl, even separated, was a blessing to her and us. So many times, even yesterday, I’ve gone to the barn and found Epona sleeping in the sun with her mother standing over her, just as she would do when they weren’t separated by the fence. They’ve been able to mimic many of the sweet caretaking roles, and it has helped Epona in ways I will probably never fully understand.

      Yes, grandma and grandpa will be a major part of getting the kids through this next chapter. It’s a good thing to be needed. A blessing in disguise.

      Have you read Frankl’s, Man’s Search for Meaning? It is all about surviving, thriving in hard circumstances. He was in a concentration camp, and he still found beauty.

    2. No I haven't read it but he seems very wise from the quotes you've put up. I will check it out. Thanks.

  3. I think the whole world could use some spunky Epona-ness right now. Pull through the adversity and stand up for what we believe in, without making enemies of our loved ones.
    What this world needs is more horse sense.
    Good to see your daughter is doing well!

    1. In the spirit of my above references to Man’s Search for Meaning, and how it reminds me of this moment:

      “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

      The world has become a bit dark, and the worst of human nature is being celebrated (in large part due to social media) but it will run its course. People will remember what it means to love each other again.

      We had an outdoor wedding at our house last weekend, which I’ll blog about soon. My kids have a vast group of friends, every demographic, every political persuasion, lifestyle—all good people. The pandemic has separated us from one another, and in some ways we have become forgetful of each other’s humanity. When you see a person face to face, and you come together in mutual respect and love, it’s so damn powerful, and it erases whatever exterior barriers there were between you.

      Love is so powerful, but it’s in short supply on social media. After last weekend, I have hope that it will return greater than ever, and we will be ashamed of this chapter.

  4. Epona is a good thing in this world. I’m glad that she’s thriving. It must be hard for your daughter and son. I hope it gets sorted out.

    1. Life is nothing if not complicated, but they’ll get through it. Epona turned the corner just in time to switch gears to their impending birth. They’re both really excited. We all are.


Please feel welcome to join our discussion by telling us about your own thoughts and experiences.