Sunday, October 26, 2008

Magic In The Air With Magic Me There

Michael, Evan, and I took advantage of this gorgeous autumn day and drove to the other side of Pittsburgh to Clear View Stables to watch Melissa and her mare, Magic Me There a.k.a Jeannie, take part in the horse show.

Jeannie and Melissa are at the beginning of their love affair with each other. It's been interesting getting to know Jeannie as part of our family. A retired race horse, she often finds it necessary to let you know that she's pretty superior in every way. Please don't forget it. Melissa is becoming increasingly adept at reminding Jeannie that she's the boss and not the other way around. However, the learning curve is pretty steep for both at times!

Today, in both of their events, they trotted away with blue ribbons. Extremely unexpected and impressive. We're very pleased and excited. But, more than that I'm proud of Melissa. It's not easy owning a horse...quite expensive! In order to have a good stable for Jeannie, her feed, and necessities, Melissa has basically taken on a second job at Clear View where she feeds, mucks, and helps in any way that the owner can put her to good use. It's countless hours of hard work in exchange for Jeannie's room and board. The return is wonderful for Melissa.

Cool ribbons aside, it strikes me that the real reason this achievement is so remarkable is that the two girls have gone through some deep heartache recently. Jeannie birthed an adorable baby boy about five months ago. Melissa named the colt, Connor, who quickly became the darling of the barn. The trouble was that Connor never could get his legs to work as they should. Although Jeannie was a devoted mother, Melissa an incredible owner, and Connor a willing spirit, his problems worsened. The sad day rolled around when we all had to accept that, despite everyone's best efforts, it wasn't ever going to work out.

So, a couple of weeks ago, on another beautiful fall day, Michael and I went to the stables to meet Melissa and some of the regulars, and spent time with Connor and Jeannie while waiting for the vet. Under the pure blue sky we gathered as Melissa held her colt and the vet ended his suffering. Let me tell you something about my wonderful Step-Daughter...she has been a vet tech as part of her professional life and has a great, earthy, no-nonsense, extremely loving way with animals. However, although she's assisted in hundreds of these merciful acts, she had never put down one of her own loved pets. This was a huge thing for her and she handled Connor's passing with grace and dignity even though I knew it was all but destroying her. Sometimes, doing the right thing is the most difficult thing of all.

Jeannie has struggled too...her equine brain trying to figure where her little guy has gone and returning to life as just another mare in the stables. Together, she and Melissa turned toward life and have moved forward. Slowly. But, definitely forward. Jeannie is gaining weight. Her personality is building; sometimes her thoroughbred attitude is a bit much, but hey, that's the joy of Jeannie! She's learning to depend on Melissa. And, Melissa needs her just as much.

Today our girls showed everybody what it looks like when two work as a team. And, as we left the stables, we passed by Jeannie's stall with its two blue ribbons hanging there to mark what it can be like when you start to participate in life after great sorrow.

Life does go on after tragedy; you can either move with it or let it pass by without you. I'm happy that Melissa and Magic Me There have moved with it. Watching them in the ring today, was a glowing reminder that even after the most sorrowful of storms, blue skies do return and blue ribbon days await.

Namaste' Till Next Time,


melissa said...

Thank you... Both Jeannie and I have tears in our eyes. :) The best is yet to come!

Chris Ruebel-Lantz said...

I feel as if I have watched Melissa grow up over the past 4 years. I have heard numerous stories and yet if I ran into her in the streets I would not even know it was her. She has turned out to be quite an amazing girl with all this story has to tell.

Holly you need to post your "Are we there yet" thought process.

Colleen said...

You're right, I definitely appreciated this post... I had tears in my eyes, thinking about how hard that would be for me if it was my mare and her foal. I hope that Melissa and Jeannie have still been doing well and growing well together. (I will be reading some more of your posts so maybe that will answer that...)

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