It’s About Life

_DSC0010Long-awaited spring finally came to Maine…finally. Then we went back to winter briefly, followed immediately by a fast-forward to summer. Last week we hit the record books with one of the warmest days on that date in history: 84F degrees. The warmest day in 222 days. I was sweltering and I almost complained. (I didn’t.)

This post isn’t about the weather. It’s about spring. It’s about life.

Renewal and new life is everywhere. Daffodils in the garden. Tulips. That burst of heat brought the leaves into full bud (last week there were none). And the weeds are growing, too. MEH (My Engineer Husband) and I have been starting a spring cleanup in advance of a summer garden—there’s a lot to clean up after our long winter. A sweet House Finch couple is nesting in our porch eaves, and this morning I listened to the male singing happily while sitting on the string of Christmas lights we never took down (because of the enormous piles of snow)…now we’ll likely keep them up so we don’t disturb the nest.

Yesterday, for Mother’s Day, I had the happy and (these days) only approximately twice-yearly occasion of having both “my kids” home along with my son’s wonderful girlfriend. Bliss is not too strong a word. We had a lovely breakfast together then we went to a nearby goat farm to visit the baby goats. My daughter and I have been planning it for months, but I think my son was a bit skeptical. I’d been to the Sunflower Farm Creamery once before to “hold baby goats,” and I thought it was just the thing we all needed after a long winter of bad weather, of being indoors too much, of work, and of stresses…we’re all together because next weekend we’ll be celebrating the very exciting occasion of my son’s graduation from medical school. If you’ve read my blog for long, you may remember when he started medical school—it was the year I started this blog—four years ago. Those years have flown by (for me). For him it’s been a lot of work.

We needed those baby goats.

Did I mention that my daughter is preparing to apply to medical school? (Which in itself is a major ordeal.) She’s home—on vacation—but she’s working the whole time. Like I said we really needed those baby goats.

There were only about four families at the goat farm when we arrived, and almost every person—man, woman, and child—had a cat-sized baby goat in their arms. The goats were resting peacefully in their arms, and the people were quiet and peaceful, too. As we entered the pasture, we were immediately surrounded by bleating goats. I watched them scampering; watched the other families interact with the goats around us; watched the baby goats nibble at people, chase down their mothers for reassurance; watched even very small children quietly and gently stroking sleeping goats in their laps. It really was magical.

“Holding those baby goats really was therapeutic,” my son texted me after we parted ways: he and his girlfriend rushing to the next busy thing in their lives as they prepare to move a thousand miles away to where he’ll start his medical residency and she’ll start law school.

“I miss the goats,” my daughter said, as she settled back in front of the computer. “I wonder if I can find a medical school with a goat farm.” She put in her ear buds and turned her eyes to the screen. Next week she’ll head back to the west coast to start a new job—having her at the dining room table working for the whole week is this mother’s dream come true.

Later this month, the baby goats will head to their new homes, the woman who owns the goat farm told me. At eight weeks the baby goats go in pairs. She’s very particular about where (and to whom) they go. She has a long waiting list. My daughter and I would love to own a goat farm someday; we talked about it in the car on the way home. Someday.

Next week we’ll gather for my son’s graduation: my aunt, my father, and my son’s girlfriends’ parents will join us. It will be a celebration of life. As my son graduates, I know I’ll wonder. Where did those four years—where did my babies—go?

Then, we’ll scamper. To new homes, to new jobs, to new projects. We’ll all begin anew.

What’s new with you this spring?




  1. Kristen says:

    Aw, this made me so happy to read. I’m so glad you got the opportunity to spend time with both of your children (who are both obviously slackers…ahem…NOT!) and the goats too. It all sounds just perfect. And if you ever start that goat farm, count me in as a one-third partner because YES!!!!!! Love goats. As long as we can have a donkey too. Congratulations to your son, and good luck to your daughter. Lots of good stuff happening there.

    • Guess what? They have two donkeys there, too! It’s a lovely little farm… I’ll be going back because more baby goats expected this week and next! As for the congrats, I’ll pass them along. We always say that our contribution to the success of our son and daughter is not getting in the way and being the support staff. It’s been amazing to watch. Thanks for your kind words!

  2. Hope Hall says:

    How lovely to meet your family and even more wonderful to stumble upon this blog this afternoon. The sweetness and sorrow of watching our kids grow up and move on to do wonderful things is so perfectly captured in this post that I admit it brought me to tears. My youngest heads off to college in the fall and I know like you it will seem like a matter of days before I will be saying…just four years ago?! The growth of the goat farm over recent years may just have been a bit about my dread over ever having a house without kids in it (now we have about 45 each spring!)…so that you all found a few minutes of peace at the farm while snuggling goats is extra sweet! Cheers to you and your super smart (and busy) kids! And to us moms who will keep making a home and life that is enticing for them to come home to as regularly as possible! Happy Spring!

    • Hi Hope! You have no idea how you made my day by visiting and reading my post. Thank you! I can totally understand your dread about the empty house and filling it with 45 kids each spring sounds like a perfect solution! Thank you for leaving a comment and for your kind words about the post and about my kids. Your goat farm is an amazing place, and I just marveled at how everyone holding a baby goat, even the smallest children, were so at peace. I’m so happy to have met you (and of course I’ll be back!). Best, Julia

  3. What a wonderful way to spend a day — cuddling a baby goat. It really makes everything right with the world.

    Congrats to your son on his upcoming graduation from medical school. That’s quite an accomplishment. I wish him the best of luck as he goes into his residency. (I hear that can be a very trying period.)

    Here’s to many lovely spring days ahead. 🙂

    • Yes, definitely a wonderful way ot spend the day! I’ve heard the same thing about residency — thank you for your kind words and well wishes. Here’s to spring 🙂

  4. Such a precious sight. So glad you had a lovely Mother’s Day with your son and daughter. And they have such exciting plans too. It leapt to summer here the last few weeks. I don’t mind though.

    • Glad you liked it, Jamie! It was a wonderful day — and happy belated Mother’s Day to you! I know you’re a fan of summer, not me so much, but I know after the winter we had that I’ll think long and hard about complaining again. 🙂 Happy summer!

  5. Lindsey says:

    I love this, this image, all of you, smitten with the baby goats. I also love that your husband is MEH. So good. xox

  6. Cherry Harris says:

    So lovely to hear you finely have spring. You must be rejoicing after all that snow . I can hear how happy you are to share precious time with your children . We have to let them go sometime don’t we . My son moved into his own house with his girlfriend almost a year ago now and we moved to our 3/4 house last week ( if you remember we moved here 7 months ago but rented a cottage till our house was livable ) .
    When Cam ( my son) and myself lived together we were constantly rowing , I reckon we were so alike ) now we get on fine . We were at his last weekend… he looked after us so well and yet he would hardly lift a finger when live together… amazing .
    Love the baby goat .

  7. Baby goats?! What’s not to love! We have a petting zoo close to our house and there is an area where you can feed the baby goats with little bottles. It’s hilarious and adorable and totally worth the $1.00. Now it’s when they get big that I have a problem with. What is with that smell anyway? 🙂

    So glad you have all your babies close right now and I know that makes you very, very happy. Enjoy!!

  8. Nina says:

    I feel like I went through winter with you with all those beautiful instagram shots. I look forward to seeing spring blossom in Maine through your eyes. And yes, wow, a new chapter for both of your kids. Exciting! And yes– time flies. I know.

    • So glad you enjoyed the winter instagram shots! Yes, soon (I hope!) I’ll post spring blossom pics, although our forsythia had about six blooms on it and I’m not sure the apple tree will ever bloom. It’s still quite cold and we got a late late snow. Hope your spring is warming up, Nina!

      • Barb Riley says:

        Strange, my (8) forsythia bushes only had like 10 tiny blooms, collectively. And now the leaves are all filled in. I was wondering if I did something wrong—like I should’ve pruned them last year (I didn’t). Is there a point where they stop blossoming and go straight to green?

        • MY forsythia bushes only had a few blooms, too, and here’s what I figured out (after some internet searching): older varieties of forsythias aren’t as hardy, so if you had a late frost/hard winter or some shock to the bush’s system (like we did, all winter long) then they won’t bloom! So maybe the same is true of yours? Also, I’m not sure our apple tree will bloom either, it already is getting leaves. Pretty sad about that 🙁

  9. Barb Riley says:

    Oh my goodness… what a smoochie cute beebeee goat in the picture (I want one, too)! As an early reader of your blog, I can remember when you wrote about your son *starting* medical school. Hard to believe he’s graduating this year! Lovely to hear things are going well for your and your family. Spring is definitely a season where things begin, anew.

    • Hi Barb! The goats are SOOO cute, and we are still talking incessantly about them! Wish I could have all my blogging friends come and visit the goat farm with me, wouldn’t that be fun? Thanks for your well wishes. Hope all’s well with you as well!

  10. This got me right in the feels! 😀 Baby goats are the absolute cutest; I can see how that would be therapeutic after such a long winter. Your kids sound so hardworking and successful. I’m glad you got some time to see them! Happy belated Mother’s Day to you, Julia.

    • Baby goats ARE the cutest, Annie!! Both kinds of kids were therapeutic but I have to say that having our whole family together for Mother’s Day was the best. Thanks for the belated Mother’s Day greetings (and sorry for my belated answer).