Divine's heifer calf - the red heifer calf I've been waiting for since Divine herself was born - turned out to be a black and white heifer calf who was born dead.
We set a goal a couple years ago of having zero percent death loss in our young stock (not including DOAs). Right after I realized that we had met our goal for the past 12 months, we lost Diva, a yearling heifer. She laid down wrong on the bedded pack and bloated.
I feel like I get slower and clumsier with each passing day of this pregnancy and I'm finding it hard to not be frustrated with my inability to do all of my chores outside. I'm not sure how I forgot about the exhaustion that comes with the last month of pregnancy, but I did. Even worse, I think I actually convinced myself that I'd have more energy this time around. (If that isn't proof that pregnancy can seriously hi-jack mental functions.)
Sometimes it's all too easy to get hung up on the bad things that happen, the challenges, and the shortcomings.
That's why we need to constantly remind ourselves of the many good things that happen, our blessings and our accomplishments.
Divine's heifer calf wasn't what I hoped for, but I can be thankful that she didn't get hurt delivering the calf and that she's grown into a beautiful addition to the milking string.
Diva's death was a not-so-nice reminder of what our first vet told us when we started farming: "Anyone who has livestock also has dead stock." But we need to remember - and be thankful for - the other 82 living, healthy calves and heifers we are raising.
My lack of energy and my growing to-do list during this last month of pregnancy might be frustrating, but I am thankful for the miracle of new life and the excitement that grows in our family as we get ready to meet our baby.
An attitude of gratitude can help keep parenting challenges in perspective, as well.
I could get mad about the hundreds of LEGO pieces strewn about our living room floor on any given night, but I choose to be thankful for the amazing creativity those LEGOs have fostered in Dan. He's grown from relying on help to build the examples on the side of the LEGO box to inventing his own vehicles and buildings. This weekend he asked for help putting a roof on the barn he made; the next night, he built cows and horses to go in the barn and then put them all in their stalls.
A couple weeks ago, I came in the house and found Monika making a cake for her baby doll. In one of my pots, she had combined chocolate pudding mix, a torn up cosmetic sponge, the rest of my economy-size package of chewing gum, the rest of a tin of loose leaf spice tea, some sort of liquid, and who knows what else. The concoction had an unbelievable aroma and I had to remind myself to stay calm. I could have been upset about the mess and the wasted ingredients, but I chose to be grateful for her nurturing nature and interest in cooking.
I know it sounds cliché, but practicing gratitude really does help keep life in perspective.
I hope you had memorable Thanksgiving gatherings with family and friends this past weekend and that you'll practice an attitude of gratitude all year long.