I know better, but you’re still around.
Today is my Gramma’s birthday. She passed almost 10 years ago, and I still think about her every day. It’s strange how the more time goes by, the harder it is to picture her face, her features. Yet the memory of watching her take her last breath is forever burned in my mind.
You’re probably wondering what this has to do with Ysebaert Acres, and the answer to that is - everything.
She lived here first. Raised my dad and my aunt on this same piece of property. Taught them how to care for a horse in the same barn that stands on our grounds now. She took no shit. She spoke her mind. She was real. She was kind. She was the most amazing horse-woman. I may have gotten my animal-loving attributes and work-horse ethic from my dad, but ultimately, it came from her. I’m absolutely cut from the same cloth as my Gramma, and every single day that I unapologetically pursue my dreams on this farm, I am reminded of that. And It makes me smile because I’m so proud of that... but it also makes me cry, because it guts me that she’s not here to see it.
I have never felt more of a connection to a human being in my entire life, and even though she’s gone, I still feel it now. I named my daughter after her. She’s the driving force I feel in my heart telling me to keep moving forward when my head is telling me to give up.
All my dreams of having horses + cattle, growing a garden, canning, living off what the land offers + respecting every life that walks it - comes from her. She was the ultimate homesteader.
She is the reason I’m doing any of this - I know my dreams are possible, because she’s already proven it. I think the most heartbreaking thing is that it took me 30 years to realize that this was the kind of life I wanted. I have so many questions for her that will be forever unanswered.
So happy birthday, Gramma. The irony is that she f***ing hated celebrating her birthday - so I won’t make you blow out any candles, but instead I’ll just try my best to become the woman I know you hoped I would be.