I’m not going to lie to you – our Christmas day felt more like three whole days.
The kids woke up at four in the a.m. and to say they were excited would be an understatement. They came in every fifteen minutes, give or take, to wake us up. Normally, I would have been all about it and up before the sun right along with them. But my monthly migraine was in the house, and I was doing all I could to kick it before partaking in the festivities.
At six we finally rolled out to find the gifts all sorted, sort of.
Santa leaves gifts in unmarked bags at our house, and there was a little Santa bag snafu. Tagg got the head lamp and binoculars that were actually for Tripp. And Ten opened the tea set that was actually for Tagg. And Tripp was happy either way because he opened the laser tag Ten had asked for.
After revisiting everyone’s Christmas lists, the situation was resolved, and everyone dug into the rest of the gifts. By the end of the morning, Tagg had a new scooter, Ten a hoverboard, and all the kids wanted to go the shop (the only concrete of any size worthwhile on the ranch) to ride scooters, hoverboards, and bikes. So, Mr. FFB and I sent the trio down to sweep the shop while we stole a couple minutes alone and cleaned up the aftermath of opening gifts.
As we got down to the shop to watch the kids scoot around, I looked out into the corral. I caught a glimpse of our geriatric horse Nick. And I knew it was time.
We knew this day would come sooner rather than later. Although we aren’t certain his exact age, we suspect Nick was nearing his mid-thirties. He lived a long, good life. He’d taken care of many a ranch kid, grazed the greenest of pastures, and eaten the sweetest oats. And it was time to say goodbye. So, we gathered up the kids and were all there with him as he passed.
There was not a dry eye in the corral.
We laid Nick to rest in a good spot in the pasture overlooking his favorite spot on the ranch – our front yard. And we took the opportunity to explain how God is our caretaker, and we are our animals’ caretakers. I also told the kids (and myself) that Jesus must have needed a good grey horse to ride on His birthday. I’m not sure if our animals go to heaven, but I pray they do because I honestly couldn’t imagine my eternity without them.
In short, Christmas 2019 was nothing if not an emotional roller coaster. I don’t think there was a human emotion left that we hadn’t felt. We wrapped up the day with birthday cake as we celebrated Jesus’s birth and thanked Him for this life, good horses, and our salvation.