My Mother often pushed me to do things that I found uncomfortable. I could name so many examples. She sent me to Colorado State University many years ago to learn to collect stallions, inseminate mares and freeze semen and two weeks later as breeding season hit I was in charge of shipping our stallion’s cooled semen around the country and breeding all of our mares. Not long after the frozen semen followed, and not too long after ultrasounding ovaries and embryo transfers. She just always thought I could do something and so then I did it, or had to, and often with little or no training. That doesn’t mean I did it willingly, often I grudgingly did what she asked, but I have to say in almost every case it was for the best and I grew from it personally and/or our business improved.
This is a bit how I felt when my good friend Evie said, “Janina, I think you should write a blog”. “Really!! Like when?” is what I thought to myself. So a few nights ago I sat down for a few minutes to share the story of Alamina’s little filly and all of those wonderful memories of my Mom flooded out of me and on to the page. I went to bed that night for the first time since I lost my Mom without pain in my heart. Evie was right, writing is cathartic, so I think I must continue for now!
My Mom had a walk that she did nearly every day. It is a giant loop that goes from her doorstep, down to our barn, through the creek bed and up a gorgeous mountain trail, where we have 360 degree views of the Santa Ynez Valley and then back down through our barn and back up to her house. She did that walk for years and also religiously through her first cancer treatment 10 years ago. It didn’t matter if she had terrible side effects from the chemo, the radiation or the surgery, she would put one step in front of the other and walk her walk up that mountain. It was then that I noticed for the first time my Mom’s unbelievable mental strength. She believed in mind over body and proved it more recently again and again.
She used to stop at her favorite tree, a giant oak tree, and lay her hands on it and close her eyes. She would tell me that the tree was powerful and gave her strength. I would usually just wait for her to finish with her tree, and then when she was done I would walk up ahead and stop periodically so she could catch up as we headed up the mountain. It is very steep and I didn’t really know how tough it must have been for her until many years later when I would hoist my pregnant, healthy self up that hill. I cannot even imagine how she did it.
We modified our walk in the last two years and didn’t go up the big hill. The trail was too rough for the stroller so we bypassed the big mountain and Sigi didn’t get to her tree very often. Again my Mom walked every day that she could. The second bout of cancer was different than the first. This time her lung was affected, most likely from the radiation that she had gotten the first time, and it made walking very difficult, yet she put one step in front of the other every day that she could do it. The last time we walked together was in November. I remember that beautiful day like it was yesterday.
My friend Ann is visiting me right now. She is training for a trekking trip and I started hiking with her. Yesterday I went to see my Mother’s tree for the first time. I walked up to it, laid my hands on it and closed my eyes. I have NEVER felt such powerful energy in my life. I wish I could ask my Mom if what she used to feel was what I’m feeling now. It must be, and it must be why she was able to make it up the mountain when she was sick to see the beautiful view.
I want to thank Evie for pushing me to get out of my comfort zone. And I want to thank my sweet Mom for still guiding me now, and showing me how to put one step in front of the other to conquer the mountain.