It's been one of those weeks. One of those weeks when I am thankful we homeschool. I am also thankful we homeschool year round, so we can take time off when we need it. We've already completed 136 days of school, so I am not concerned that barely anything was done this week.
We may not have done much "book learnin'" this week but we have learned a lot about life. Hannah's doe had triplets, with complications in the delivery. This required the vet to be called, but by the time she had arrived, Abby and I had managed to get all three babies out. Hannah learned about vet bills this week and Abby gained a whole new confidence, as she was the one with the hands small enough to help.
Because there were three babies, Hannah decided to bottle feed one, named Barcelona. So 'Lona got a crate in the basement, just outside Hannah's room, near the woodstove. Hannah got up every two hours, went out to the barn, and milked the mother (Venezuela) to feed the baby. She is thankful that now 'Lona can go every four hours and very soon will be moving back out to the barn when she can go every six hours. Hannah learned responsibility (and what sleep deprivation was) this week.
The third of the triplets, Bomakiri, had short ligaments on her front pasterns, this caused her to be unable to stand. Hannah diligently massaged and worked those ligaments every couple of hours. Hannah was optimistic when 'Kiri's front feet began to get straighter.
By the third day, I realized that there was something else wrong. The kid wasn't using her back legs correctly. Further examination showed that she had little feeling in either leg. Hannah took a day to think about what to do, and decided that 'Kiri needed to be put down. She had made a very tough decision, but the right one. Kiri would never be able to walk, which would significantly diminish her quality of life. Hannah called the vet and she came as quickly as she could. She was wonderful with Hannah, and confirmed my diagnosis so that Hannah would have no doubts about her decision.
Some have said that I put too much on my children's shoulders. That I give them too much responsibility and they are too young to have to make such hard decisions. Yes, the decisions Hannah had to make this week were difficult, but I was always there beside her. Explaining, answering her questions, making suggestions,guiding.
I knew what the outcome was going to be, and patiently waited until Hannah was ready to step on that path. What a picture of what God, our Father, does for us all! How many times has God patiently waited for me to stop arguing, second guessing, and rationalizing. When I am finally ready, He guides me, supports me, and helps me as I walk the path He has set before me.
Hannah also had her sister, Abby, helping her. Abby has had to make those types of decisions in the past and Abby was able to help Hannah in ways only a sister could. Abby helped Hannah dig the hole, showing her how big it needed to be. I will never forget the image I saw from my kitchen window, of the big sister standing beside the younger, both leaning on shovels, one with the arm across the other's shoulders. It wasn't just Hannah who grew this week, Abby did too.
I believe my kids have a perspective about life, that few other kids have. They know that these are animals and that we are their caretakers. They understand that animals are different from people and that we love them in different ways. They know that making tough decisions is part of "real life" and that not everything goes the way they want it to. They understand that sometimes, even Mom, as amazing as she is, can't fix everything. They know that even though bad things can happen, Mom, Dad, sisters, and God will always support them and help them through it.
Those are all pretty good things to know, even if you are just thirteen.