The Soul of the Family

Note, this post was originally written only a few months after we brought Chroi “home,” and it sat in my drafts for a long time because…. Well, I don’t really know why. Maybe it just was too personal, or maybe I didn’t feel like I’d said it the way I wanted. Whatever the reason, here it is now.

“You need to write about what Chroi has meant to you during this time,” my husband texted me.
During this time when I’ve felt darker and heavier, more sad and more depressed than I even realized until someone wedged her way through my door to offer me a hand up.

I asked my husband if he would write to me about what Chroi has meant to him, and he did. I love my husband and he makes me feel like he’d do anything in the world for me (and he does- we bought a unicorn!), but when he takes the time to fulfill this kind of request I feel especially touched. It could so easily be blown off as something “small” to do “later.”
At the same time, this is the man who has come out to the barn just to brush Chroi and be near her. This is the man who has gone out to the barn on his own time to visit our unicorn. And these are things I didn’t really expect- after all, horses aren’t really “his thing,” they’re mine. But Chroi is family now, and we bought her in order for her to be family. My husband has embraced that and it makes my heart swell.

So what did my husband write?

“It is really hard to put into words what Chroi means to me.  I admit, my initial decision to buy her was done to make you happy.  I knew that I was going to lose my job (I did not think that it was going to be a big deal…hell, I thought I would get picked up almost instantly for more money).  I was thinking that I would get you something and maybe get myself something to commemorate all the years of work and effort that we both put into my job.  So, when you brought up the horse, my thought was “well, if it makes her happy then why not”.

In short, I didn’t really care about Chroi at all.  It could have been any horse or ‘thing’ at that point.” 

You know what? We both thought that my husband would be picked up quickly. He was very successful and good at what he did. He’d cultivated professional relationships and contacts. He’s known in his industry.
It was so very, very naïve of us.
And I’ll be honest, I knew that if I said I wanted Chroi he’d buy her in a heartbeat. He spoils me absolutely rotten (something I’ve very much enjoyed over the past two years- not gonna lie!). However, in my defense, that knowledge (that he’d buy her if I wanted) in this case made me more cautious. A horse is a big investment not just in the short term but very much in the long term, and that is something I feel I know well. I wasn’t going to buy her on a whim, and I was very aware that I already had a HUGE emotional thing going for Chroi. That’s a big no-no when buying a horse– you have to have objectivity.

I have zero objectivity when it comes to Chroi.

My husband and I had many late night conversations once the girls had gone to sleep, about reasons for buying Chroi, my goals with her, why I wanted her. I agonized over it, because I truly didn’t want to buy her just because I wanted a pretty horse with a cool story. I had (and have) some pretty solid (in my opinion) reasons for buying her. In a nutshell:
1. She was gentle and good around the kids, and clearly of good temperament.
2. I had mentioned to my husband previously, before Chroi ever entered the picture, that someday I wanted to raise my kids around horses because of the wonderful lessons and experiences they can offer.

Those were the two biggest reasons. Other reasons included more pragmatic considerations. I’ve made money working with horses in the past, and I have dreams and ideas about doing so again. Chroi has great potential as a kids horse and is also a proven broodmare, so both teaching and breeding are options with her.
My husband listened, and we bounced thoughts back and forth and decided to go for it. Mostly, I knew I would regret it deeply if I let her go.

“When Chroi was moved to the barn, I went out a couple of times by myself.  I was happy that she seemed friendly and cute.  At some point, I got into the stall with her and she walked up to me to investigate me.  She stuck her nose in my hand.  I went to rub her on the shoulder and I swear that she leaned into me.   At that point, I felt a connection as I held this big animal in my arms and felt her warmth as she leaned up against me.  Since that time, I have heard things and felt things differently.  I have heard you talk about her and while you may be saying the same words as before, they sound different in my ears.  I hear the excitement in Sage’s voice when she speaks of going to visit her.  Chroi looks different to me now.  She isn’t just a cute white pony.  She looks like she looks at me and ‘sees’ me as opposed to just stares at me.  There is something special in that.”

My husband may not be a horse person, but he very much connects with animals. I think that, like many city kids, he’s never really had the opportunity to connect with horses. All he needed was the chance. Unknowingly, he himself became an example of one of my dreams- giving kids who otherwise wouldn’t have a chance to be around and learn about horses the chance to do so. Once he had that time he started to feel differently, and I’m not only grateful for my own sake (it makes the horsey life easier to have an understanding, supportive spouse) but I was grateful that he’d felt that magic.
Chroi does “see” us, I fully believe. Given the chance, horses can look right into our souls. And what they can show us in return is pretty incredible.

“Today, Chroi represents something different.  She feels like a key part of our family.  I feel that she has an important role to play and while I can’t explain and don’t know it, I know that it is important and that it will impact us as a family for years to come. I feel like she has a soul.”

My husband’s email was really special to me; however, it was something that he said to me one day that touched me to my core. While we were talking last weekend about Chroi, he said that she is here to be the ‘soul’ of our family. It made me want to cry.

He’s been on board with integrating her into our lives, and that in and of itself is a great gift from him. It’s one thing to buy a horse, but it’s another thing entirely to make her a part of our whole family, not just “mom’s thing.” Let me tell you, navigating a wheelchair around a barn is not easy, and yet he’s never once complained that he “doesn’t feel like” going out and he’s always willing to go. And Chroi, gentle as she is with my little girls, turned out to be gentle with my husband in his wheelchair too (although we took extra care about toes and his bad leg). He’s made sure that we all go together and he’s made it happen without complaint, even though I think he’d be fully justified in complaining!

“Chroi is there to be the soul of the family…she really is something special.”



Categories: being a parent, Life of YES, Living YES, mothering, The Family that Horses Together, Unicorn

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