Almost two weeks ago my baby turned 8. Her birthday marks the grand finale in the annual 4-month stretch of birthday and holiday extravaganzas for my family. Or, as I like to call it, the time period where the word “budget” is mocked, stomped on, and kicked to the curb.
At this juncture it is important to note that my middle brother has a birthday the day before my daughter. And because my family is a clever crew, years ago we deemed this particular celebration the “Stoebe Party” because what else would you call a party for Phoebe and Steve, obviously? Another important side-note is that because this is the grand finale, we have been doing pretty much the same thing for months now. None of us have new stories. We have nothing left to say about Covid, vaccines or the weather.
Enter my crazy brain.
I recently saw a post on Facebook from an old friend who posted pics of her daughter feeding a baby goat. That was all it took. I decided on the spot that my baby was my G.O.A.T. and my brother was an “old goat.” This made perfect sense.
I immediately went into the bowels of the internet, located this business, sent an email and booked ONE baby goat for Stoebe-fest. Then within three texts, my new goat friend convinced me that THREE baby goats was WAY better than one. It’s really hard to argue that. I began to rationalize it by saying things in my head like: You have three children, so one goat for each. Goats are probably like children, after a certain number, quantity doesn’t matter anymore. A mess is a mess. THREE BABY GOATS IN DIAPERS???? YES, PLEASE!
You get the picture. I rented goats.
Imagine my surprise when during our cocktail hour, not one, not three, but FIVE goats show up ready to party. In this moment, I learned that I am non-confrontational and ill-equipped to reject extra livestock. So I guided this motley crew into my family room, complete with tarps and surprised/concerned family members.
I will spare you the details of what ensued for the next hour or the following day. It included, but was not limited to, washing a dog bed that had goat pee on it, putting the furniture back from the position it had been moved on account of three goats escaping and trying to run up the stairs after my very disgruntled cat, and vacuuming goat turds out of my couch.
Okay. But what’s my point here? Why am I sharing this level of crazy with you, dear internet? It wasn’t until after all the guests had left and the urine had been cleared that I had a quiet moment of reflection. All I could think about was how I’ve consistently tried to keep myself in check as a mom and not overindulge my kids on some levels. Hugs, kisses, and unconditional love? No, I don’t mean that. I smother them with those. Expensive shoes, cutting edge technology, and endless extracurricular activities to mold them into Renaissance children, okay, maybe a little. My head says don’t spoil them, childhood is magical as is. My heart says LOOK AT THAT SWEET FACE AS SHE HOLDS THAT FREAKING BABY GOAT!
It was in this moment that I realized I just need to do what I feel is right by my children and my family. Will some think that this is over-the-top behavior? Of course. But it’s my children, my goats, my choice. Magic is in the eye of the bewitched. In this case, my children were bewitched by the baby livestock and my heart swelled an equal amount as I watched them. Just like it does when they open their birthday presents in awe, tear through their Christmas gifts with wild abandon, and when they go into a diabetic coma following the opening of their Easter baskets.
But magic isn’t always found in the holidays and birthdays. It’s more often in the everyday. It’s in the special cookie waiting for them after school. It’s in the impromptu dance party in the living room when we should probably be getting ready for bed. It’s when there’s an injury and a kiss from mommy makes it magically all better. It’s in that moment right before bed when we say how much we love one another– to the moon and back. Magic.
After the goats all left, one of my brothers asked me how I thought the evening went. I proudly announced that I had zero regrets. Turds and all– I’d do it all over again. And that is exactly how I plan to approach all my days of mothering….with as few regrets and as much magic as possible.