Sunday, August 21, 2011

Royal Ranch Royalty: Shades of Change


Well it is time to sit down in front of my computer and try to heal my broken heart with words.  See, I have been telling you Rebels about changes here at The Royal Ranch and they have all really started to hit me these last few weeks; thus my absence from this blog.  

We lost our beloved cat Shade a few weeks back and I knew it would be very symbolic of the times ahead.  Shade was our nurse and one of my best friends here at the ranch.  If any one was not feeling well, Shade was the first to let me know by laying by that animal or person and meowing insistently!  It was uncanny his ability to know that a spirit was not well before they actually showed symptoms outwardly.  I guess it was from his time living at the vet clinic for so many years; Shade had been a blood donor cat before he came to live at the Royal Ranch.

Which is how he became a character in my childrens book, Llucky Llama.  His name in the book is no other than Cuddly Cat of course.  Cuddly Cat is buried right next to Dedicated Dog; my first Great Pyrenees that was one of the greatest dogs I have ever owned in my entire life.  As a matter of fact, that spot has not been used since Marilyn (Dedicated Dog) passed.  Tom tried to bury another dog there one time and about got his head bit off by me-ha!  Sometimes there are just animals that are extraordinarily special in our lives and Shade and Marilyn were those type of animals.

As I said, I knew the winds of change were blowing; I just didn't know how hard.  That week I had gotten the news about my back.  I had gone back in because my back just isn't making progress.  It will be a year in October since my surgery and I have tried everything except chiropractic care.  And I do mean everything.  Walking, Pilates, stretching, yoga, acupuncture, etc., although it is all very good stuff it does not completely take away my pain.  I saw multiple docs in one week, one of them a specialist on the field who then sent me to another ultra-specialist who all agree; this is a lifelong issue.

The good news is is that the last specialist I saw did give me a shot in the spine that sent me into a horrific tizzy for about a week; and boy was it a painful tizzy, but I am better now.  So Rebels, please keep your fingers crossed that I can get these shots every three months for a little bit of pain relief!!!!  The timing was perfect because my back was feeling better just in time for me to deal with my next big change....

Which is losing my sons.  And to be perfectly honest, I suck at letting go.  I know that they are going to college and that they are doing the best thing for them, and that this is what is supposed to happen, but it still really hurts my heart.  I miss them sooo much it physically hurts sometimes.  And I know I'm not the only one out there; maybe I am the only willing to admit it, I don't know.

We took them to Gunnison, Co; the home of Western State College on Friday.  They will share a dorm room and will start classes on Monday.  Thomas already got a job and Austin has an interview today; so their lives are just going wonderfully!  My heart bursts with pride each and every time I get a text or a call or an email from one of them.  I really can't believe that my 2 sons are at college; to be honest I wasn't sure it could really happen.

These are two boys that come from homes that are not made of money.  As a matter of fact they are the first of both their families to ever have gone to college.  Thankfully, due to Austins legal circumstances (our adopting him) his schooling is entirely paid for with grants and loans (mostly grants-yeah!); but it really came down to the wire with our Bubby.  We have been selling things (anyone need a plow truck? ha!) and creative budgeting like no one's business.  I even swapped for some of his text books (review of book swapping sites to come in the following days, there are definite differences!).

Speaking of Austin's other home, that has been a constant source of stress this week also.  Since we have been a part of his life I have been very careful to include his other family and try to make one big happy family so that the boy does not feel as if he has to choose between the two.  I know that he loves his dad and his sisters and needs to keep contact with them; it is very important.  But this last week has just about killed me.  His Dad has let him down one too many times in my book.  As have the step mom and the sisters and the rest of them....I just couldn't take the hurt expression on my sons face any longer.  On the way up to Gunnison, I kept asking Tom what I could do to make up for the terrible week he had had, and all he kept saying is "Hon, you've got to let it go, you are already doing the best you can.  Just be who you are.  He knows how much WE love him."

I was telling my sister that I was so upset that Thursday, the last day I had with the boys had been such a stressful day because we had been running to Austins last dental appointments and needed to get their toiletries, etc.  And that at first I was wishing we had spent it differently, but when I looked back on it, I had been able to sneak in the fact that I had asked the dentist about cleft pallets and they are not related to fetal alcohol or drug abuse; a fact which Austin had grown up thinking and blaming his Mother for.  And when his Dad told him he wasn't coming home to say goodbye to his own son before he left for college; well I was there to buffer the blow and explain to Austin that it was because he just couldn't handle saying goodbye.

So, sometimes even a harried, stressful day can turn into one that is very meaningful to those we love.  That night when we got home, hours later than we had planned, our neighbors were waiting for us.  They were here gathered to say goodbye to our beloved boys.  They are the ones who truly love and respect these kids.  It's not always blood that makes a family.  We had my daughter's best friend and her Mom and sister.  The boys' best friend who is one year younger (poor kid getting left behind) and his family, who have truly become our dearest friends; and our beloved neighbors Dan and Judy over.  It was so perfect.

In the midst of all of this; I have been eluding to changes here at The Royal Ranch.  They have been a long time in the making I suppose, but it sort of came as a shock to me.  The biggest being that I have realized that I am probably not going to be doing pack jobs anymore.  There are times when my back is bad that I can't even make it up the stairs so it is a bit concerning to make a reservation for a pack trip up a mountain that is six miles one way.

Which really means that I have way too many llamas than I need.  And on top of it, I am losing my Great Pyr, Tia.  She has a cruciate tear that needs surgery that we cannot afford nor take care of after the surgery.  I am very blessed that the person who gave her to me is willing to take her back and pay for the surgery that I have arranged through a dear friend of mine and then care for her during her recovery stage....We will take it one day at a time after that.  The problem with caring for a dog that weighs more than I do, is that she will need to be physically moved, etc after her surgery.

So, I am slowly but surely placing my llamas, Tia will leave around the 13th of September, Paco my ram is going to Auction where he should pull a pretty good price and will not get eaten because Rams are yucky to eat and so I can finally feel comfortable taking an animal to auction and seeing how it all works.  I may replace the ram; the main reason he is going is because I would like to breed his daughter this year.  But the whole ghist of the ranch is changing a bit...

As a matter of fact, I had decided that I was going to do poultry.  That was until the neighbors dog killed one of my prize turkeys last week.  Yes, in the middle of my crazy week; I was in filling out paperwork with the boys which is how it happened because normally when the turks are out I have my eye on them at all times.  But this day, we were busy doing last minute stuff for the college, and I heard a ruckus and went out to find the dog eating my turkey.

Although they have offered to compensate me financially, it was very hard for me to determine a price on the first turkey.  First of all, the turkey was not harvested properly so I was unable to save the feathers which on these types of turkeys is a good portion of their value.  We, of course, were unable to save the meat after a dog had been eating it.  But what really bothered me the most was the waste of the whole thing.  I think you as Rebels know that I do not waste anything.

Let alone the amount of hard work and time and love that we all had put into these turkeys.  We knew that the turkeys were going to die; as a matter of fact we all were quite proud of the fact that these three were going to be the first animals that we actually planned on raising from the get go and eating.  Now we will not even be tasting our own hard work as the remaining two have already been sold to friends who have driven in our driveway, taken one look at those beautiful turkeys and asked if they were for sale.

So, my future business plans are as follows:  I am going to continue my writing; I think I may even finally have time to take that second childrens book out of my head and put it onto paper!  The ranch will continue to size down a bit, literally.  The llamas will find the right homes as they come along, and I will slowly grow my poultry/feather business as I feel it is safe.  The loss of my sons I guess I will get used to(?!?), but the loss of Shade....well, that was an indicator of times a changin' I'm afraid.

I would really love to hear from you Rebels.  Have you dealt with losing your children to college and if so what helped?  What about other losses and changes in your lives.....???


Daisy said...

So many changes - so many losses - so many transitions! And all at once! Take care of yourself. You're expending a lot of strength, emotional and physical, taking care of others.

Royal Ranch said...

Thank you dear Daisy for the reminder, already starting to feel back to my Rebel self.

Tiffany said...

oof... I had no idea, Judy... I mean, I knew about Thomas and Austin, but the rest... I am speechless. I hope you are holding up okay. Please let me know if I can help. <3

Royal Ranch said...

Thanks Tiffany, just "buckin' up" and getting used to the new normal! Ha!!! Just the way a real Rebel should.