Yesterday morning was awful. I didn’t get to bed on time, had nightmares all night, and woke up exhausted and grumpy.
I compounded things by picking a passive aggressive fight with The Bean, and “won” by almost making the boys miss their bus to school.
Yaaaaaay!!!…….. I think?
I couldn’t find the shirt I wanted to wear, and had to settle for the one that makes me feel frumpy.
I was late, and pissy, and frumpy, and grumpy and….. and then I checked my phone, and saw I had a missed call from an unknown number. I checked the voicemail transcript (is that not the best invention EVER?), and stopped dead:
“Hi, Becky Bean, your baby was born this morning. You have a filly. I sent you some texts. Bye.”
Starting around day 335 or so (around April 15th), I began obsessively checking my phone for texts from Kathleen. The average horse birth happens around day 342. There’s a wide window, of course, and it’s not unusual to have them go past a year, but this wasn’t Sparkle’s first foal and she’d given birth relatively on time last time, and had bagged up well in advance.
I remember one evening, the evening of the “Four” post, I shooed The Bean off to bed ahead of me.”I know, I know,” I said. “I want to go to bed too, but… but I really need to get this post out. Who knows? This horse could be born tonight, and then it’d be too late to announce it ahead of time.”
Yeah. It didn’t happen that night. Or on day 330. Or on day 340.
Day 342, the official “this is what’s average” day came and went.
So did day 345.
And day 350.
And day 355.
And day 356. And day 357.
Eventually I started a daily habit. On my break at work I would Google “mare still pregnant at day 358” or “mare still pregnant at day 359” and read forums with fellow anxious waiters, doing my best to ignore the posters who admitted that their mare had waited until day 380 to give birth… or that had some mares giving birth on day 385, or even day 400+.
Somewhere along the way (don’t ask me why) I had decided that she would give birth in the middle of the night. I would check the phone several times through the night, but once no news of a baby was there by the time I was headed to work, I figured my chances were done for the day. And so, after I checked my phone that morning, on day 360, I completely dismissed the possibility of a foal and went on with my day. That was why Kathleen’s call came as such a complete shock.
I hate to be cliché, but as soon as I saw that, I had that “and then her heart leaped into her throat with excitement” moment. I literally felt my heart give a strange squeeze, and I got all choked up.
Until that moment I didn’t even realize how much I wanted a filly, not until I saw it in black and white and felt that giant surge of joy.
I didn’t see the notification for any new texts, but I optimistically opened my text messages anyways….and nothing. No pics. I reopened it. I turned my phone off and on again.
I called Kathleen and got her voicemail.
I sat, pulled over on the side of the road in my idling minivan, and thought very seriously about calling in sick to work.
Only that would be wrong.
Only I had a filly. A filly!
Only I wasn’t sick, so that would be a lie.
Only, only, only there were no pics! I had a filly, and I had no idea what she even looked like! Dark bay? Light bay? Star? Socks? Scandia Morgan Horse Farm was literally less than three miles away from where my van sat. I could be there in under thirty minutes, even with dropping off the twins at daycare. I would be able to see her little wet foal coat, all swirly with dampness from just being born.
But…. But it would be wrong, and not nice to my coworkers. I work for a small town, and there just isn’t a lot of people in the City Hall office. The absence of one person is felt dearly.
But I had a FILLY. And there were NO PICS.
But… but if I went and saw her I wouldn’t be able post any pics or say anything on social media. I mean, you can’t say, “Ugh, cough cough, I’m siiiick….” And then start posting pics of your visit to a horse farm an hour later. I’d have to wait until Friday to post anything, and sitting on this giant news for more than a day would kill me.
I went on Facebook messenger and was relieved to find the following details:
“Filly born. Looks like Marvelous side of pedigree. Three whites, white face. Red head.”
I sat there in my van and read the lines over and over again, while Magpie and Finn babbled at me from the backseat.
I…. I had a chestnut filly. How was that possible? I had figured, long since, that I was getting a bay colt. Colts take longer in the oven and Sparkle had definitely baked this foal really well, and we had bred a bay horse to bay horse.
And now I had not only a filly, but my all time favorite color: chestnut.
Knowing the description gave me the strength to do the right thing, so I shot back a message letting her know I hadn’t received any pictures and then headed off to work. Meanwhile, Kathleen went inside to check on why the photos hadn’t gone through (they’d accidentally gone to some other lucky Becky in her phone book.)
I dropped off the twins and pulled into the work parking lot, opened FB messenger…. And there they were:
I’ve always loved Sparkle’s ears, and this filly has these same elegant, expressive ears.
I sat there and just stared. She said white face, but I’d just figured she meant she a nice little blaze, not anything like that. That was just amazing. It was so unbelievably unique. That was….
I zoomed in on the last headshot. Was that….
Was that a blue eye?!
I texted Kathleen back who said it’d be best to wait a day or two before making any final decisions on the eye, but that she was a big filly, and should be easy like her mom since she favored the Intrigue side so much.
I sat there in my van until I was actually a few minutes late for work, completely stunned.
I had a big, chestnut, tons of white, possibly splash gene filly with at least one blue eye.
It was like I’d ordered her from a catalog.
I had done my best not to hope for one thing over the other. I didn’t want to be disappointed in any way when the foal came. If I didn’t psyche myself up hoping for a filly over a colt, or for a chestnut when there was such a small percentage chance of a chestnut, then end I wouldn’t end up secretly disappointed if it came out anything other than “my favorite”. Color wasn’t important – the foal was going to be amazing no matter what.
I feel like I just won the horse lottery. What were the chances? What were the chances that I’d pick an in utero foal and get literally every single thing I’ve ever liked in a horse?
I skipped into work on a cloud and began what was literally the longest day of work of my life. I’m sure it was a long day for my coworkers as well, who had to listen in on my excited gushing over, and over, and over. I felt a little bad for them, but not bad enough to stop. I told everyone. I mean, EVERYONE. I felt like a first time mom. I had a baby! I had a baby! It’s a girl! Can you believe it? A great big redheaded girl!
The hours crept by. I couldn’t even sneak away to see her on lunch, because I had to pay the farrier (Jupiter leaves to his amazing new home this week and desperately needed his hooves trimmed before he left.)
I got one more pic during the day:
But that was it. It was awful. The day crawled by, oozing along at a slug’s pace. I thought it would never end, but eventually it did. The second that five o’clock hour rolled around, I was out that door and off to meet her.
Kathleen met me near my car, and together we went to the foaling barn. Sparkle was a gem – hands down the nicest new-mom mare I’ve ever been around. Aside from one half-hearted ear pinning before she sniffed my hand, she was a total doll about letting me into the stall, standing kindly and patiently and letting her filly approach us and snuffle us all over. I’ve never been able to scratch such a young foal to my heart’s content.
After a little bit Kathleen went back inside, both to fix her dinner as well as just let me sit in the stall and get to know…. Little Miss No-Name. So that’s what I did. I sat in the stall, took pictures, and scratched on my newborn filly. I know I’m completely biased, but she was just so nice. She wasn’t wary or pushy, and she genuinely seemed to like people. She kept approaching and softly sniffing me, and grooming me back whenever I scratched her neck.
I got groomed by a 12 hour old foal, y’all. Yesterday was definitely one of those days that you hold close to your heart, and pull out to remember and soothe yourself with when times get dark.
I think I’m going to frame this for my wall. That blue eye. Those eyelashes. <3
Kneeling in work clothes in a horse stall, deliriously happy. Also, see how her blaze is almost a mask? She is completely brown on the underside of her head. If she was a colt I might name her Phantom, because it reminds me of his mask.
Little bitty foal tail
I was so enthralled with her little face I didn’t get too many body shots.
Holy crap. That’s not some fancy foal on Pinterest. That’s MY horse.
That newborn pink lid will darken as she’s older. It’s like the pin paw pads of a puppy. Take pics quick, before it’s gone.
Okay, I may have been a little obsessed with that blue eye.
Those whiskers. Also, those ears – I know she looks half mule in this photo, but in real life they’re long and shapely, and remind me of Sparkle’s ears.
I can’t get enough of her little newborn foal beard.
One blue eye, one brown eye, one pink muzzle
OMG, Becky, look at that butt. (I was not clever enough to come up with this on my own – credit to Trisha C.)
I’d like to say that seeing her made me automatically know what her name should be, but instead it made it harder. Oh, sure, I was able to get rid of almost all the names I had on my list… but now I have a new list.
I fall in love with one name, and then after I sit thinking about it for a few hours, I start second guessing them. I latched onto Fantasy for a few hours. It was perfect – easy to say, sounded kind of feminine but not too girly, encapsulated how I felt about her (the horse I’ve been dreaming of pretty much all my life), but then started wondering if I start talking about my Fantasy, if people are gonna wonder if I’m daydreaming about dirty things out loud. Does it sound bad? I can’t tell – I’ve really overthought it at this point. FairyBramble is still an option, but I’m sure if it was the one. Allegria means happiness in Spanish… or maybe I could call her Soprano, because she makes my heart sing, high and sweet…..
The Bean wants me to call her Negative Amortization, since she’ll just get more valuable over time.
I told him I am not naming my heart horse Negative Amortization, and to quit being such an accountant.
And then I heard the word “heart horse” come out of my mouth and I was all “OMG, I’m gonna name her Heartsong like on that one penguin cartoon!”… and then I remembered that Scandia Morgans already had a Heartsong.
I thought of naming her Sonnet – it was the name I always wanted to name a horse, since FOREVER…. but I already had one horse named Sonnet, if only for a month or three. It seemed wrong to reuse it. Except… except I only had that horse for three months, almost 20 years ago. Is it wrong to reuse names? Bad luck? Mean? I don’t know the rules.
The Bean suggested another name – Singularity (actually, he brought up Quantum Singularity, but I just liked the Singularity portion of it.) We could call her Rarity for short, which would be perfect, and rolls off the tongue so wonderfully… except Rarity is also the name of a My Little Pony. I mean, not that there’s anything wrong with that, but still.
As I chewed over that, The Bean continued coming up with more names: Event Horizon (Horizon was already on my list), Dark Matter, Einstein’s Action At a Distance….
No, Bean. I am not naming my filly Einstein Action At A Distance any more than I’m naming her little Negative Amortization. Thank you for your suggestions, though.
Speaking of suggestions….. Look, I can’t promise I’m going to pick the name that wins this poll (the internet has taught me never to promise that, lest I end up with a horse called Horsey MsHorseFace, or worse)…. but I wouldn’t mind a little more feedback.
Do any of these names strike you as awesome? If not, do you have any suggestions? Please vote – this may be the most #FirstWorldProblem I’ve ever had in my entire life, but I feel overwhelmed trying to name this gorgeous little filly, with her unique masque and her blue eye and her awesomeness.
If you don’t like any of my ideas, there should be a space for “Other” where you can input your own name. Keep in mind that her complete name can’t exceed 25 spaces, and eight of those spaces will be taken up by Scandia (with a space after it.)
So…. seriously. Help me. If I figured out all the behind the scenes stuff right, there should be a poll right below this:
UPDATE: It worked! Also, if you input your suggestion under “Other”, there’s the complicated way of me approving them, so I’ll mostly be listing them in batches. They’ll show up eventually, though….. I hope 😛
SECOND UPDATE: I am really struggling with it showing me “Other”. If you entered an “Other” name, can you also add it in a comment? I’m trying to add all the “Other” names into the poll.