I've had trouble sleeping for the past couple of years. I've always had quirky sleeping habits - the pendulum swings widely between night owl and early bird. But for the past couple of years, I struggle to fall asleep before midnight and have a terrible habit of waking up somewhere between 2:30 and 4. The rare 8 hours of sleep is a treasured gift, fiercely guarded. I usually spend this extra time praying, working, mulling over whatever challenge I'm facing, or fretting in general - though our house is tiny enough it limits how much work I can do without waking everyone up.
Last night, I was in desperate need of a good night's sleep. Since we have a reprieve from the oppressive heat, I had high hopes that once I dozed, I'd stay out. It was about midnight when sleep won.
It was about 1:30 when a buzz and a chirp woke me up.
The next four hours were filled with fitful bursts of sleep, odd dreams, and lots of buzzing and chirping. It seemed the sound was coming from the living room, but my befuddle brain couldn't quite make sense of the noise or its origins. The closer it got to morning, the more frantic I got.
Finally, at 5:30, the noise woke up my middle son, who recognized the sound and made a beeline for his older brother's phone. I learned two things: 1) Some kid named Justin had texted "Hey man it's Justin. Wat up?" At 1:34 am and 2) My teenager has his phone set to notify him EVERY TWO MINUTES if he misses a text.
While I'm sure the texts he normally receives are much more earth shattering that "Wat up" - I mean, they must be if we're that concerned we might miss one - but surely there's a happy middle ground. Perhaps every hour? Or, I don't know, just once and we acknowledge that the little "1" displaying on our screen next to messages means we have one?
I apologize now to the world if I'm a miserable beast all day. I blame Justin. "Wat up?" Dak's mom, and she is not happy with you Justin.
Update: My son is now awake and assures me he doesn't know anyone named Justin.
I think every little girl goes through a horse phase. Some of us just don't outgrow it.
As a child, I memorized every horse book I could get my hands on. I learned colors, conformation and communication from the pages of a book. The instant I was old enough, I sought out chances to be around the real deal. I took care of other people's horses, volunteered for vets, and gentled my first horse at 13 - before it even occurred to me that climbing barebacked on an untrained horse could be dangerous.
It never quite worked out for me to have my own horse. My grandpa had just begun to horse shop when he was diagnosed with cancer. The summer was supposed to be one where my dream came true. Instead it was the summer I tended to my hero as cancer ate him away, piece by piece. I wound up treasuring those days for a very different reason than the one I'd planned.
But the dream to own and train my own horses never died. I still had this vision of taking the unlovable horses of the world, training them, and helping them find their place. I wanted to save mustangs. I wanted to barrel race. I wanted to learn to jump. There were so many things in that world I yearned to see, touch, experience.
My little girl dreams of horses had to take a back seat to life when I had kiddos of my own. My attention turned to their dreams. When my oldest son decided to take horseback riding lessons, I soaked up all I could as I watched him experience the things I'd dreamed of so long ago.
For a while, I could almost touch that dream. We'd found a barn home and we owned two of the most amazing horses I'd ever laid eyes on. I had the privilege of exercising and riding animals that were truly the cream of the crop. The time I spent at that barn was one of the happiest of my life.
And then our middle son, Blake, had his accident and the horses had to be sold to pay medical bills and the dream once again faded, giving way to the reality of helping our son through a major life trauma. The accident never made Blake scared of horses - he'd been in a coma through the worst of it and didn't remember the accident itself. But changed things for the rest of us. We were shaken to our core, and I wondered if we'd ever ride again.
That's when Dixie came into our lives, the little red appaloosa with enough spunk to make her fun but a gentle enough nature to soothe my rumpled spirit. An accident had left her blind in the right eye, and when she came to us, she didn't want anyone on the right side of her body. I worked with her and she worked with me - we patched up the broken pieces in each other. Her herd mate was a little appy gelding, who sadly passed away last spring. He left a great-big hole in our hearts and on our little homestead.
As we talked about what kind of horse we wanted to add to our homestead so Dixie would have a friend (besides her alpaca buddies), I came to realize that I'd fallen in love with the appaloosa breed. There's something in their nature that draws me to them - though that could be a post of its own.
Now it seems that some of those little girl dreams are on the verge yet again of becoming a reality. Some of it doesn't even feel real yet, so I might save it for a later post, but I will make one big announcement: My Dixie girl is going to be a mama! She is bred for a May 2016 foal. I got to see the baby on an ultrasound. I actually cried when I saw the little black dot on the screen that I was assured is a baby.
Dixie and I have always been buddies, but now that she's bred, she's decided to stick to me like glue. Her favorite spot is the backyard, and she's even followed me onto the porch a couple of times (which is not intended for horses). She threw the only temper-tantrum I've ever seen from her when I locked her in the *gasp* horse pasture the other day.
I will keep you guys posted as the pregnancy progresses. God willing, next May will bring us a healthy foal. (A bay with a blanket and spots on his rump would be an added bonus...)
Rolling hills that had been vibrant green just weeks ago were now muted in tone, as if they were taking a deep breath before bursting into the song of fall.