Why am I avoiding writing this blog this morning? I’m sitting here looking at my list of priorities for today- “write Gidget blog” is at the top of things to do before lunch. So far I’ve packed CDs, chatted with Ted, tidied the living room floor, cut Wesley’s hair, swept the kitchen, and visited with the local television crew. Still no blog written. I’m hoping this coffee I made myself will give me outside motivation for what I’m not feeling inside right now. :)
See, while I do want to answer your questions about Gidget, I don’t want to spend all morning crying. She has only dropped in once since you all saw her on our Live From the Orchard video and I miss her. Writing this blog feels like a farewell that I would rather avoid. When we were first married Ted would tell me stories of a nest of coons his family rescued when he was a boy. So when my brother in law said he had a coon for us this spring I was thrilled to have the chance to have our own coon for the kids to experience and learn from this year.
Gidget came to us as a very young baby, needing bottles and round the clock care. Wes, Lindy and I were her primary caregivers in those busy days of making her special formula, calming her with back scratches and warm water bottles at night, and keeping her busy and happy when she wasn’t napping. A baby coon needs help much like a newborn and so it was a season of early morning feedings and lots of warm washcloth baths. She loved to be stroked on her belly with a damp cloth and if she heard you in the kitchen getting your coffee in the morning she would start squeaking for her bottle and some attention. From the start Lindy and I both hoped that we could raise her to not be dependent on us her whole lifetime so we tried to introduce foods to her that she would find in the wild like berries, apples, and proteins and we thoroughly encouraged her to dig for food under rocks and play with ice cubes in water, hoping to keep alive her instinct of searching for and washing her own food.
She bonded really well with the kids and loved chasing them in the yard, climbing on their backs and on the trees in the orchard. In June and July we began housing her outside in a deluxe rabbit hutch and gradually we allowed her to roam free in the yard as we saw she was staying away from the busy road in front of the house. By August she was staying in the woods behind our house to explore overnight and then showing up to get breakfast and say hi in the morning. As it became hotter it seemed she would bunk down somewhere cool in the day and then come visit us in the more comfortable evening hours. The night that you all met her was one of the last times she dropped in long enough for us to spot her and feed her some treats. She was causing quite a ruckus climbing all over us before we turned the camera on so we caged her to reduce the chaos while Ted was playing. :) While it is bittersweet that she has not been around much since then, I am so happy that one of her last visits was a moment that you all share with us.
I don’t know why I am feeling so sentimental about this, or why I can’t think of a summary to wrap everything up nicely. Loving something wild is amazing and messy, beautiful and hard, emotional and triumphant. Letting go of the baby critter who needed us to let her become who she was born to be is both a rewarding and tearful task for me today. It is easy for me to correlate her farewell gift to us, this crazy viral video that she helped promote with her furry cuteness, with the way that you as a listener have embraced not just Ted and his music, but our whole family, with kids climbing everywhere, weeds growing too tall in the background, stormy weather chasing us indoors and the whole lot. You guys are taking a risk loving this messy, not put together family and giving us the ride of a lifetime by sending us on an adventure we’ve dreamed of for years. So while this blog is in some ways a goodbye, it’s also a hello. Hello to meeting new friends around the WORLD (wow!), and sharing moments and photos together on Facebook. We are already sitting around the table here discussing new opportunities for travel and stage coming up this year and in 2017 and everything is changing. So pass the Kleenex and the camera- 'cause like Gidget, I think we have some exploring to do!