Archive for the ‘aging parents’ category

Sweet Spot

January 1, 2012

2012 started with Jigs recovering from an abscess. He got better for a few days, and then today was off again. So we are continuing the soak, diaper, duct tape ritual. I actually found some black duct tape with red and yellow flames-looks kind of cool in a 9 year old sort of way.  Jigs could care less, but I think he looks stylish!

Today was, unusually warm (hit 50 at one point) and the sun was bright. Since we couldn’t hit the trails together, I hand walked Jigs down the street, hoping the pavement would speed along his recovery.

He seemed to enjoy our meandering, staying respectfully behind me and stopping when I stopped. Not that I would expect anything less. It’s just that he is so easy going. I know not all horses are and I appreciate him.

The one thing that perplexes me is where Jigs’ sweet spot is. You know that one spot where horses love to be rubbed /scratched? It puts them into ecstasy.

Even Pepper had one. If you scratched his withers he would stretch his neck, tilt his head into a nod and curl his lips. He entered a different zone.

It was the only time Pepper acted like he liked me.

Jigs does not seem to have a spot like that.

Oh sure, he enjoys an occasional a scratch behind his ear. After a sweaty ride, he lets me rub on the side of his nose because it itches- if I don’t do it, he’ll rub it on the fence himself- but there is no place that sends him to ecstasy.

I got to thinking about it as we walked.

Strange.  He’s such a gregarious creature.

Jigs’ personality is as bright as his coat in the summer sun.  He enjoys playing jokes on the humans at the barn. What fun to walk through the aisle and pull various halters and lead ropes off the stall doors then watch the humans pick them up? Is that Apple someone’s lunch? Not anymore.

He is easy with the babies and toddlers, always careful not to be overbearing.

He loves to play tag  and is gentle with the kids.

His heart is large and generous, funny and trusting.

Maybe that is it!

His sweet spot!

It’s his heart!

Of Equality, Fairness, and the Stoicism of Horses

May 30, 2011

It’s been hard to find good chunks of time to spend with Jigs the last few weeks. Work and just life in general keep getting in the way. I’m expecting more of the same next month.

I’m not complaining. In this economy I’m grateful to be working. And the other stuff is just stuff. You get through it.

Yesterday we loaded up the trailer and attended a ride at my favorite place- Goddard State Park in Warwick, RI. The footing and the scenery were fabulous. It was hot but given the past winter, no one is complaining. Not even Jigs, though he was wet from the humidity.

Jig’s coat has shed out and he is the color of a shinny penny. When the sun is just right, he has a metallic sheen that makes his muscles look like they are rippling. He’s handsome and he knows it.

Makes me think about herd order and how horses accept that order exists. Yes they will challenge their place in the order, but never the existence of the order.

Humans both accept the existence of the order and challenge it. We so want to believe in equality. It is a noble thing after all. But at the same time reality confronts us with inequality. Where ever we look, it is there.  We are born with different abilities, to different circumstances.

Or am I confusing equality with fairness?  Is that it?

I remember my mother’s mantra, “life isn’t fair.” I quoted it to my own kids. Yesterday I caught myself saying it to my grandson.

Well, it isn’t.

Things just happen. Bad guys do get away with their crimes. Good people get sick. Kindness is not always repaid in kind.

Horses don’t worry about these things. They just accept what is.

Jigs knows he’s handsome.


Remembering Who I Am

August 23, 2010

The least few years have been a mix of joy and wonder along with frustration, sorrow, and the continuing realization that I am mortal.

At 52, I know who I am. I know who I am not. I’ve given up the adolescent dream of being a poet, of writing a memoir, or leaving behind anything except the children I bore and their descendants. That is how it should be.

A few Saturdays ago I threw away years of journals kept during my years of being a single parent. They were stained with mold from water damage but could have been salvaged. They were full of solipsistic obsessions on myself and my ‘loneliness.’ And there were drafts of poems- I am sorry about loosing poems.

But I am not the woman on those pages. I wouldn’t recognize her if I met her on the street. She was a struggling single mom barely making enough money to raise two girls. She was selfish and cowardly, yet not afraid of doing what needed to be done. She indulged her children to the point of spoiling them.

We live our lives with what we are given and some of us make more than others of what we have. Some are never given enough of an opportunity to do much more than survive. I don’t think I believe that each human can be 100% actualized. I want to believe in equality but reality doesn’t match up. Equality is a nice dream.

Generosity and great heart does not always lead to happy endings. Life savings are lost. Those we love make mistakes. Our faces grow lined and etched with spots. We will all die one day.

I do believe in reincarnation and the idea that we keep returning until we learn what we need to know. I guess there is an equality in that but on the eternal scale.

The woman in the journal who was so enamored of her sorrow doesn’t exist any more. She grew out of it. She faces each day secure in the knowledge that what will be, will be. Some days we laugh; some days we cry; but everyday we learn and grow older.

She doesn’t keep a journal any more.

A Quiet Moment with Jigs

May 18, 2010

I am disquiet. Yesterday I drove two hours south to attend a judged trail ride. Just as I pulled into the parking lot, my cell rang. It was my oldest daughter. My mother, who was visiting her two hours north from home, fell and broke her wrist. There was nothing I could do. I was four hours away.

After a conversation with my mother, who encouraged me to continue the ride, I decided that my daughters had the situation under control. My eldest would drive my parents home and my youngest would drive her back.

What else could I have done?

Still, guilt is a film of tar that coats your stomach. We managed the obstacle course as best we could. The ride should have been fun, but my mind was back home. About half way through the ride, I got a call saying they were home.

We finished the ride. I drove back, unloaded Jigs from trailer, made sure there were groceries, and went to bed

In the morning I woke with a painful twinge- like a healed bone that aches in the rain, dull, but always present.

I had been dreading Monday anyway. Rejection has never been easy for me, so I usually choose to ignore it. But life has a way of forcing you to face it- over and over again.  And Monday, there it was again. No escape. I was going to have to face a guy I had made a fool of myself over. No escape. So I thought.

Around noon, my phone rang. I needed to bring my mother to the specialist. She sounded distressed and  worried. I was oddly relieved to have to drive her, run from the reminder of rejections, past, present, and future.

We can’t control the stuff that happens. Especially with aging parents. And we can’t make people like us. Or force love. Nor can we fix everything- everyone. Pepper taught me that. Somethings can’t be fixed. At least bones heal.

Tonight I visited the barn. Jigs is great,  my one true love. He followed me to the gate and let me fuss over and brush him. We took a walk, side by side, down the street, me leaning on his bulk. I let him graze and visit with the mares. He is social and grounded. So not like me. That is why we work, I suspect.

After I turned him out, I sat by the gate. He stayed with me, his nose reaching the top of my head, letting me scratch his muzzle. For those few moments we just were. No pressures. No sorrow about the past. No worries about the future. Just the pure joy of being together. Just Now. Just Jigs. That is his gift to me.

Medical Expenses

May 6, 2010

Over the past few months I’ve watched how inefficient medical care is and how incompetent hospitals, doctors, and the system really is. That is the true expense of health care.

For example, my father has been back and forth between his doctor, his specialist, and the hospital but NOTHING has been fixed. The hospital releases him and tells him the specialist will do the procedure in his office. The specialist then prescribes a $170 prescription and sends him home. Two weeks later he removes the catheter, and sends him home again with NOTHING done, and by midnight, my father is back in the hospital to have a catheter put back in. This has happened three times now. The last time he told my father if he wanted to have the procedure to correct the problem (a simple and less expensive option), they would need to do it in the hospital- the opposite of what the hospital told him.

In the mean time, the specialist collects his insurance payment, co-payment and perks from the drug company. My father is still suffering.

You tell me who makes out?

Where is the primary care in all of this? In his office. He’s not allowed to participate in any hospital care because it is the hospital policy. Every visit, a new doctor is assigned and a new diagnosis.

Again, who makes out? The hospital gets paid by the insurance.

I’m not suggesting that the insurance companies are blameless, but when you think about it, who REALLY profits?

Just my thoughts…..