Yesterday was a rough day.
The long-awaited foal of my father's beloved horse, Abby, was stillborn. Fully formed, beautiful, and dead. I think it broke all our hearts a little.
(Yes, I know, the fact that I have parents with horses makes me sound spoiled rotten, but still...Abby is a pet, more overgrown puppy than horse, and this was her baby.)
(Also, I'm not spoiled. Okay, well, maybe I am, but it has NOTHING to do with this horse.)
Zoe loves Abby, and was looking forward to seeing her baby. Like the thoughtless jerk I sometimes am, I gave no thought into how to tell her the baby died. Instead, I hung up the phone with my father after he gave me the news, and I walked into Zoe's room. I sat on the ground beside her.
"I have some sad news, baby," I said. I might have been fighting back tears...but I'll deny it if you ask.
She looked up, all wide-eyed sweetness, and took my hand. "What happened, Mommy?"
"Abby's baby didn't make it. It died."
"Oh. That's sad."
She went back to playing. Later she grew concerned over the disposal of the body. "Where will they take him, Mommy?"
"A friend is going to bury him on his farm."
"Will there be a grave stone?"
She's very practical, that child of mine. She's also a farm-kid, even though we live in the 'burbs. She has two aging dogs, two maniacal cats, and last year my parents lost their greyhound. Life and death are simply a part of her world.
It stormed for over three hours in the afternoon. Charleston has been ravaged by rain in recent months. Downtown flooded during high tide yesterday, thanks to the rain, allowing kayakers to row down several main drags.
We were stuck in the house, bored and irritated, with two terrified dogs milling around, panting loudly.
Tempers were on edge. We argued. I hate arguing with a five-year-old. I never win, unless I pull out the Mom-card.
"Enough arguing. This is ridiculous. Go to time out."
And then I feel juvenile and mean.
I hate afternoons like that.
But after dinner, the storm blew over, and a rainbow formed in the sky.
"Come out, Zoe!" I called into the house when I saw it. "There's a rainbow!"
She dropped everything and ran outside. When she saw the rainbow she began to dance, to hop, to wave. She couldn't contain her joy.
I grinned. "Want to go find the end of it?" I asked.
"And the pot of gold!" she replied.
For 45 minutes we walked through the neighborhood, splashing through puddles and searching for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
I felt like a kid, fun and happy.
During this time, Zoe didn't stop talking. Ever. Not even once. Normally that drives me crazy, but last night it was sort of amazing.
She talked about where the rainbow would end (behind the woods, behind our house). She talked about why the rainbow faded (because the last piece of gold was taken from the pot). She chattered at the leprechaun who obviously guarded the gold at the end of the rainbow (giving him instructions on how to communicate with us, asking him to let us see the gold).
She created this whole new mythology for herself about rainbows and leprechauns and pots of gold. I wish I'd had a tape recorder to capture the whole thing, because it was good and it was fun and it was lovely.
Until the end, of course, when she realized the leprechaun wanted to trap her, tie her up around the neck, and probably eat her for dinner.
She is definitely my child, and last night that knowledge helped make a bad day better.
|Searching for the end of the rainbow|