Thursday, April 16, 2009

Our .5 child

They say that the average American family has 2.5 children. We must be average, because we have a .5 child. We just lost her for a few years.

In 2001, when we bought our place north of Colby, we boarded a horse for a college student, Andi. (Yes, it was confusing, we have our Andy and our new Andi. But, it's easier to remember names that way.) Andi was from Oceanside, California. A world away from Colby, Kansas. But, she was coming to school in Colby and she brought her beloved 21-year-old Arabian horse, Prince.

We had just bought the house and had these corrals and nothing to put in them. Boarding Prince for Andi was a perfect match for both of us. She was an excellent "renter". She took care of Prince, kept his pen clean. And, we quickly got to know her and adopted her into our family.

Prince was a big baby. Andi had had him 5 years or so by this point. When she bought him, he was still a stud, and had been used for breeding. But, Andi wanted to ride him, and not worry about him acting like a stud. So, she had him neutered. Six years later, I'm not sure Prince really knew that he wasn't a stud anymore, because he still reacted to the girls. Anyway, he was really well behaved except he hated being alone. He could not tolerate being alone and would panic. For a couple of weeks, Andi borrowed a horse from another student. Then we had my Dad bring up Mac, one of his lame and retired horses to keep Prince company. They got along wonderfully, and we had Mac and Prince...and Andi for 2 years.

Besides not being able to be alone, Prince also had a special diet. Andi mixed Sr. Feed with Rice Bran and Oats with warm water twice a day. When the weather was cold, Prince got to wear a blanket. In the summer, he got vinegar in his water to keep the flies from biting so bad. And he got showers with Panteen shampoo.

He was spoiled. He was Andi's baby. And, we all grew to love him--Andi too. After her first school year, she moved into a room in our basement and rented it from us. I liked having her around. She came and went, but also interacted with our family. The kids adored her, and she them. We began calling her our ".5" child.

Andi graduated and left our family after 2 years. We greatly missed her. But, we kept in touch by letters. Andi is extremely dyslexic, and reading and writing are very difficult for her, but she wrote letters. You just had to make sure you read them phonetically rather than by how words were spelled. We kept in touch as she moved to horse ranches in Texas and Kentucky and England and Wisconsin and Germany.

And then we lost her. One of her return addresses was rather difficult to decipher, and we lost her.

So a couple of weeks ago, as Andy started sending out his graduation announcements, I contacted a friend at Colby. She was able to get a current address for Andi's parents (who had moved from California to Oregon.) We sent the announcement there.

And yesterday, I get a phone call from Andi! We found her! She found us! And, she's wanting to come see us for Andy's graduation. Timing...the timing really worked out for us. Andi is back in the states, and is going back to school. She had to get an official transcript, so contacted the school in Colby. Prior to this spring, the school still had the Oceanside address. So, if Andi hadn't have come back to the states, and contacted the school, we wouldn't have found her. And, since we moved a year and a half ago, the Colby Post Office probably wouldn't have forwarded our mail, so she might not have been able to find us!

We found each other. We found each other, and we're going to see each other again. This time...this time, I'm going to do better at keeping her found. It's not that easy getting a .5 child, so I'd better keep her.

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