It is only a few days until Christmas.
And today was just another "normal" pre-Christmas day.
A day, that started with getting my kids ready for the day and discussing with them how they had to feed their animals while I was at work.
A day, when I bought flowers for my nurses to give them a wee glimpse of how much we appreciate and value them, while at the same time charming the checkout lady to give me the dropped off Christmas parcel for my daughter, before the official opening hour of the post.
A day that reminded me of my priviledged situation and how incredibly lucky I am here in New Zealand when I drove past a banner raising awareness for the Palestine-Israel conflict.
A day, where I had to detour from my normal route to work, to get some desperately needed stock feed, just to see the lady in front of me taking the last three bags of what I needed.
A day filled with soothing the sorrows of families that know that this will be their last Christmas with Mum or Dad.
A day helping families to accept the next step in their family's dementia journey.
A day of listening to my staff and their worries, which are bigger than their wallets.
A day trying to ensure we don't miss any of the non-verbal cues of our residents that would indicate that something is wrong.
A day racing to the shops to get bread for the rest home, because the supplier ran out of stock... again.
And then it was 4:30pm on Friday before Christmas-weekend and I checked my phone:
A message saying we needed a new nebuliser for one of my residents.
A message telling me my amazing mare didn't get in foal and brobably should get retired from breeding.
A message from the vets that our old dog has missed his appointment yet again, which he needed to get the meds to keep him comfortable.
A message telling me our pony will come unexpectedly home from lease and will be dropped off tomorrow.
A message telling me the sale of our property has fallen through.
And a message asking me to replace another one of my staff due to illness...
With 25 minutes to go, I organised some emergency meds for our dog, the last nebuliser for my resident and replaced my unwell staff. Plans were made to welcome back our pony and our beautiful mare. Christmas cards to our rest home families were printed, emails sent and at 8pm I finally managed to get back home to the farm.
Driving along our front paddock to the house, I could only count 4 of our 5 pet lambs. So after getting changed into my farm gear, I went for a stroll across the paddock, recharging my batteries from the rather hectic day.
And there by the water trough was our pet lamb. Dead. Maybe bloat? Maybe pulpy kidney? We will never know.
After checking all the other lambs, I went to feed the horses, spent some time with our foal Dili, giving cuddles and scratches that soothed my aching soul.
Afterwards I walked our young dog down to the cows. There was a sense of unease with one of them. I walked up through the long grass that gently swayed in the wind, while the dog beside me bounced over the tall grass bushes. The bulls started to follow us, jumping around and playing silly with each other. Happy to be on the other side of the fence, we got closer to the cow. And there it was - a wee white head pocking out of the long grass - on our side of the fence.
I let go of the dog and slowly moved up to the calf, grabbing it before it could run off. A healthy bull calf, still wet and wobbly on his legs. It must have rolled under the fence after being born.
I lifted it up and brought it back to the fence, where I was able to gently push it under the wire, back to its mum. It quickly got up and off they went, harrassed by the rest of the herd who all wanted to know what this new "thing" was.
After ensuring the calf was okay (for the time being), me and the dog walked back to the house, where I finally allowed myself to sit down, kick off my shoes and reflect on yet another day doing the splits between working in Age Care, family life with kids and running a lifestyle block.
It is on a day like today, when I realise how fragile this thing called Life is.
How we are always just potentially one breath away from our last one.
How we often miss the small moments because we are trying to hunt the big achievements.
A day like today reminds me to take that breath - especially when it all comes crashing down with only 25 minutes to sort, when you face loss, grieve, and sorrow. When it all just feels too much.
Take that breath!
And feel, that despite it all, you are still here.