I never thought I’d say those words. “We can’t go to lunch we have to go feed the goat.” “Is the goat in the kitchen?” We have still not made up our minds. This might have been our worst parenting decision yet. Maybe our best. Either way, we have talked more about life, death, heaven, prayer, prayer not answered the way we want, sickness, sadness, embracing life and joy more in the last 48 hours than in my girls entire lives. Funny how a story about goats can do that.
Here’s the story.
Sunday morning we got a call from a friend “Anyone willing to bottle-feed two baby goats twice a day?” Hmmm. Pat and I look at each other. As a new homeschool mom (I’ve said it online woohoo!! Another story for another day) and recently reading the girls Charlotte’s web, we thought this might be a great opportunity. We agreed with the owner that the grown goats would return to them once they were weaned and we agreed. We didn’t tell the kids anything but a surprise was coming. That afternoon a bucket arrived with the two most adorable goats you’ve ever seen. I didn’t even know goats could be cute!! Now anyone reading this that doesn’t know me well, we don’t have a farm and we have zero experience with livestock. The joy was indescribable. They were so happy sitting outside all day loving on the goats. They each picked one to name and P who loves animals soooo much named her goat Cutie (later changed to Billy Goat) and S named the tiny one (she loves tiny things) Beauty (which though she hasn’t heard the story Black Beauty, was a perfect name with a white diamond on her forehead)
I’ll fast forward about 48 hours. The girls are IN LOVE. Can’t get enough. We prepared them all along that the goats might not make it. Their mother had been killed by a car and they were only a week old. We were just going to do our best.
That didn’t change the devastation when we arrived home from their co-op on Tuesday to Billy Goat unable to stand and obviously dying. The girls were hysterical. Pat was at work and I was so thankful our cousin came and took the goat with him. It was one of my saddest moments parenting children yet. While I know it was “just a goat” to the girls it was such a terrible sad day. They cried and talked and cried and talked. It was so sweet watching them comfort themselves with scriptures of heaven. “I know they have to be in heaven because it says in the bible that the sheep and goats will lie down with the lion, I know he feels better because it says there is no sickness or sadness in heaven. I know he’s okay because he is with his mommy now. Sometimes God doesn’t answer our prayers how we want but we will still praise him.” Wow. Such wisdom from 5 year olds. Then last night I came across the scripture “we will not mourn as the world” and I thought there was so much truth in that. Though I am not sure the scriptures apply to goats, it has been an incredibly amazing and tough teaching time with our kids.
So the little one, Beauty, is still alive but we know it still might not make it. Now the girls are wanting to take lots of pictures and capture everything so they will have all the memories of the goats. They said even though the one died they are so glad they were able to make it’s last 3 days “the best days of its life”
No the goat is not living in the house, but it keeps making it’s way inside. The first few days they had to be wrapped up and fed on their backs like a baby and I’m to cold to do that outside!! I really think we better get a heated barn if we ever really want livestock because we love animals and hate the cold.
So my prayer is that we grow as a family. We grow in our faith. That we can look back on this time with joy even in the midst of difficulty. Finally, that I don’t end up with goats living in my house!
The next morning P was better and started embracing the goat we had left. I couldn’t get her to come inside. I finally made her because she was so cold. She cried and cried. I warmed her up with a hairdryer and made her get on warmer clothes and she was back outside.
The girls said it was just like in Mary had a little Lamb!! It came to school with them one day!!
Now the goat is in the garage so we don’t all freeze feeding and loving on him. (He’s hiding under the saw)
So this has been our week.