It's been a long time. Too long.
Today, I rolled out of bed sometime before 6:30 am, nursed my baby, layered myself in warm, mismatched clothing, grabbed a coffee mug and did something I haven't done in a long time: went to work with ponies.
I also left my baby for nearly 6 hours. SIX hours. She slept for nearly an hour after I got home so it was like being gone for seven. And we both survived. True story.
The barn is big - somewhere around 80 horses on the property most of which spend some portion of their day in a stall. There are sweet yearlings, trained race ponies, pregnant mamas and waiting stallions. I did the morning feeding rounds with another girl who works there. It took us over an hour. Seriously. But we hit it off and chatted the entire time, she filling me in on the much needed info of what to do, and me telling her all about my pony past and why I was there.
Why was I there, you ask? Therapy. Much-needed me time. Exercise. Fresh air. A change of scenery. Non-baby time. Take your pick, they all apply.
I came home (in a rush, of course), and once I saw that Chou was just fine and nuzzled in her crib, I was elated. Months of tension had melted away. I was in one of the best moods I've been since moving here. I was tired and smelly and full of joy at the perfectness of my day.
The plan for now is to make this a Saturday ritual - Chou gets daddy time, mummy gets me time, and the barn gets cleaned. Everybody wins.
The barn is, of course, not the same as back home. I miss Neena and crazy Flo. I miss J-9 and the rabble of misfits that would come and go every Saturday. I miss knowing all the ponies' names, where they go and where everything is. I miss the confidence I had in what was expected of me and what I could do. But it's also because of my experience at Flo and Neena's that I even felt qualified to call this woman and tell her I wanted to come work for her. For that, I'm forever grateful.
Now if I could just muck stalls everyday, with Chou strapped to my back, for enough cash to live on, the world would be perfect. Ah, I'll take what I can get. Me time is enough for now.