Today is our oldest daughter's, Anna, birthday. I am a big birthday gal. I love parties, presents, balloons, treats at school, all that fun stuff, but I truly believe that upon having a child, the birthday concept took on a whole new meaning.
As a many mothers do, I have a grueling labor story in my pocket, to be used during those tumultuous teenage years. This long story includes being sent home from the hospital, after laboring for nearly 24 hours, only to labor for 12 more, hard, painful hours, drug-free (not at the end...I'm no martyr!). A total of 36 hours. Yikes. I think I should be getting presents today.
However, since we are in the height of calving season, I got to thinking about the differences and similarities of the whole birthing process we mothers endure. Our heifers (those who are first time moms) are inexperienced, scared, dumbfounded at times, and unable to comprehend the fact that they just gave birth. Aren't first time mothers some times like that? Don't we wonder how we got to where we are (okay, that's not what I meant...), wonder if we're going to be able to care for our babies the way they need to be, because we have no point of reference? Joe's first-calf heifers need a lot of assistance, and I think back to when I was even just expecting Anna. My mom and dad called me all the time, checking on me during my third trimester. I am now in my third trimester of this, the fourth pregnancy, and once in a while, I'm asked how I'm doing. Not that I'm complaining, it's just that we all have a level of experience now.
Joe has had to teach many a new cow-mom how to nurse. This is something else that I understand a little better. When we first had Anna, I was diagnosed with mastitis, which is pretty common, but painful. Joe diagnosed it before the doctor, and as annoyed as I was with him at the time--how dare he compare me to an ANIMAL?- we're all built similarly, and consequently, now that I'm living the livestock life, I see those similarities.
Not that I want to be referred to as an "old cow," as I some times am. So romantic.
Anyway, we are enjoying a great day, thus far. It's early, and Joe's already been out to check a mama who had twins, trying to get her to realize that two calves came from her. . . something we human moms don't have to worry about. Anna's been up since dawn, actually pre-dawn, excited for her presents, the sticker she will receive at school, and lunch at school with Dad. Life is good today.
My hope for our now big, little girl is that she will continue to enjoy many, many years of birthdays, but also see that even though we make a big deal with presents and parties and such, she will understand that we are all God's creatures. Because our family has a love for animals, I hope that all of my girls will always see that, regardless of the species, each life is as precious as the next.
Happy birthday, Anna Grace!