Learning to Forgive By: kelsey carr

The year was 2008, I was six years old, and living in my old house, built on land that used to be my Great-Grandfather’s dairy farm. The woods that surrounded our island of a home was brightly colored with yellow, orange, and red leaves, indicating that the colder weather was coming.

It was like any normal Sunday, except there was more excitement than usual. I was anxiously playing with my sisters outside until my parents told us we were going to the farm to pick up our goats. We knew about them for a while, but were still ecstatic. About an hour after driving in the car filled with conversations about the expectations of our future goats, we had arrived.

As we stepped out of the car, the excitement took over. We were greeted with a sign reading “Dragonfly Estates”. A few yards in front of us were the happy goats all playing in the large field.

“You guys can pick two to bring home.” My mom informed us joyfully.

We were beyond happy and after careful consideration and evaluation of all the viable options, we chose the two Nigerian Dwarf Goats that stood out to us the most. They were playful brothers, one with black hair splattered with white blobs, named Jackson and the other was a pure, snow white and was referred to as Dakota.

It’s important to note that my sisters and I had been badgering my parents for a puppy for the longest time. Though my mom was constantly telling us that we couldn’t get one because she was deadly allergic, which is sadly true, we really wanted one. Because of the circumstances, we were not really expecting a dog but my parents felt bad so they thought that two goats, that would live outside, would be perfect for our family. Also, the surrounding areas of my house consisted of about three houses, a farm, a field, and woods, all spread out from each other. As a result, the neighbors didn’t mind when two goats moved in next door.

Our goats were treated like royalty with their pen down the hill in our backyard, bigger than my room with a little house for them to share and giant rocks and wooden ladders for climbing. We took them on walks in the endless woods and the gigantic bare field next door to our house for hours all year round. These two goats were our first pets, besides a couple fish, and we loved them greatly. This feeling was proved mutual every time we walked up the hill their pen was at the bottom of and they “baa-ed” at us even after we were out of sight, or when we let them wander and they came right back to their pen.

A few years later, Jackson became more tried and slower than usual. We waved it off thinking he just didn’t get enough sleep. A few days later, this behavior was continuing and we became concerned. One morning, my dad woke up and went down to feed them but he discovered that Jackson had passed away. He fed Dakota and brought Jackson out to the woods to be buried, then rushed inside to tell us what happened. We all immediately started crying immensely and left the couch to go to our rooms. A few days later, we noticed the same behavior from Dakota, but the difference is he wasn’t sick, just depressed.

After he had been moping around for about two weeks, my dad told us, "We have to give him away," but of course, all of my sisters disagreed.

Despite our persuasion, one day, they brought him back to the farm that he came from.

That day, I didn’t talk to anyone. I sat in my room and my door stayed locked.

It wasn’t until my parents explained why they gave him away that I began to understand and appreciate what they had done. These goats couldn’t survive without a companion and Dakota would live a life of misery if he stayed. Because I knew Dakota was at the farm eating all the “delicious” grass that he wanted and playing with all of his new goat friends, I was able to finally forgive my parents and to move on.

Looking back at it now, I realize how this experience has impacted me and made me see the world just a little bit differently. For one, I have learned that life is full of sacrifices and sometimes you have to do things that you don’t want to to to better the lives of others. Also, with being upset with my parents and later forgiving them, I learned that you can’t stay angry at the people who were just trying to help. Though this hurt during the actual event, it was a learning experience for me, for I did not understand what sacrifice was and how hard it can be to forgive until this tragic event occurred.

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