Saturday, April 25, 2009
As with last year, Penny, our most reclusive watchful, nonsocial sheep, decided to give birth when we had a farmfull of friends and children. We'd finished dinner, looked out the window, and there she was, a dainty black spotted lamb at her feet.
The audience made her a bit nervous, as did the flurry of doggy excitement at the fence and the kids, who, after a quick look, were playing tag in the orchard. We waited to see if another lamb was forthcoming but there was no sign of one. Now, Penny was HUH-UUUGE during this pregnancy. I couldn't believe that that absolutely average-sized little guy was the only lamb in there.
Just a week ago, we were thinking triplets. But Penny wasn't interested in having any spectators. She stared and licked and stomped, but not so much as a waterbag appeared. After the excitement died down, we put Penny in a nice quiet stall. And, before too long, Penny got to work birthing her second little lamb.
Now, I have three young children of my own and so know a bit about the struggles and sacrifices of motherhood, but watching Penny birth her second lamb brought these into clear focus. As she labored and grit her teeth through massive contractions, her firstborn skipped around nudging and nuzzling, sniffing and distracting. Penny bore all this with amazing grace. She nursed and nurtured her way through the strain of labor. Pushed out the second babe's hoof and nose while guiding her wobbly first into position on the udder.
And this, folks, is motherhood in a nutshell-- or at least mudderhood. What an incredible lot of energy and care and shear tolerance mothers have, even sheepy mothers.
It's not yet Mother's Day, but, wow!
Posted by Perri at 9:05 PM