Yes, that's my job title now. It makes me think of Yertle the turtle... I'm queen of the barn, and queen on the horse, and queen of the donkeys, and queen of the rake and queen of the manure... I could go on and on, but I think you get the idea.
Until 4 years ago my job was advocating for kids with FASD and their families. I organized and facilitated support groups, taught classes, presented at conferences, advocated at schools, etc. I loved what I was doing, although... after 10 years... there was a fair amount of burn-out. FASD can be brutal, both for the kids (and adults) that have it, and their families. The almost complete lack of resources made things even harder... I can't tell you how many times I had to tell families that the supports and services their child needed... didn't exist.
But then M's schizophrenia progressed to the point that he was too unpredictable to take to support group meetings... and too unstable to leave at home...and I retired and started my new job.
I get a lot dirtier in my new job, but I love it just the same.
It's been a difficult week at our house. M's holiday good spell is over, and we've had several rough episodes this week. I've been dragging around the house all day, exhausted, just waiting for bedtime.
But then dh got home a little early from work, and since M was doing ok and it was still light outside, I headed out to the barn.
After feeding the animals, I raked the paddock, cleaning all the manure out... Then I raked and swept the barn, and picked some hay out of Blaze's forelock (he was pretty impatient with me... interrupting him while he ate!)... I puttered for almost an hour out at the barn.
It was wonderful...
I used to wonder why I love working out at the barn, and with the animals so much. It didn't make sense... I'm a city kid, as were my parents. But for years... decades... before we moved away from the city, I yearned to be away from it. I would stand at my front door, and imagine I could see the horizon, the clouds moving over the mountains, the rolling hills of the high prairie... when really all I could see was the neighbor's house. I've always had the frequent urge to leave Denver and head for the prairie... And when I would finally leave Denver behind, and be able to look out the car windows and see those rolling hills, and the bigness of the sky, it felt like I was finally able to take a deep breath after holding it for a long time.