This is Lucky.
Saturday evening, my Gillian witnessed Lucky's birth....her very first such experience.
She called me just after it happened, full of excitement and joy.
30 minutes later, she witnessed the birth of Lucky's twin....a lamb who had died in the womb.
Two days later, Lucky still can't stand on his own, and though he is an aggressive nurser and his mommy is doing her best, it's now been long enough that it's unlikely the problem is birth trauma that can be overcome. My parents are losing hope quickly.
To grow up on a farm is to grow up with a close connection to the cycle of birth and death. I know that this is tough for my girl, but I am also very glad she is going through it. I want my children to be in touch with the natural world - and all that it entails.
I myself grew up in my dad's clinic. I began "assisting" him in surgery at the age of 2, and I was his constant companion on farm calls. As a result I was 12 before I saw a live calf born, since the situation is usually pretty desperate before the vet is called in. I grew up knowing that such things were just a matter of fact. Life and death abide hand in hand, and sometimes things just happen. I don't ever remember being frightened - although I'm sure I was occasionally upset. What I do know is that my upbringing gave me open, clear eyes, a firm and practical opinion about animals in general and livestock in particular, and a profound appreciation for the world as it is.
Gillian? When she told me about the dead lamb, she leaned over and told me, "It would have been more of a loss had it been a ewe instead of another ram." She then went on to describe Lucky's birth in great detail, obviously with wonder still in her heart.