Clara the Cow

October 20, 2011

When we settled into our hotel last night, I checked my email and found this message from my daughter Maude:

So, I heard the lawn mower stop, and I went outside to see what was up. The cows were mooing louder than usual.

I crossed the street, and I saw Mme Lucienne and her husband and the lawn mower guy.

The husband had plastic on his arms, and a cow was tied to the corner of a fence. The gate was wide open. Mme Lucienne was putting fresh hay out.

The cow was in lots of pain, I could tell. The man reached into her bottom, and pulled out some hooves. A small gold head poked out. The man was covered in blood. He untied the cow.

I saw the mom lick her baby clean. It started to rain, but only a little. Mme Lucienne and her husband went inside, and the lawn mower went back to work.

About 10 minuets later, I saw the baby try to stand up. All the other cows rushed forward. The baby fell.

A rainbow appeared in the sky. The baby stood and went under the mama.

Mme Lucienne came back out, all clean, and asked us what the baby girls name should be. Betty suggested Clara, and Mme Lucienne agreed.

The baby cow took her first steps, and ate some hay. Mme Lucienne went back inside. Betty and I went in too.


I think that might be the best email I’ve ever received! I’m so glad my kids got to see a calf being birthed (and named it too!). That’s the sort of experience that stays with you. Don’t you wish you could be everywhere at once sometimes?

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{ 62 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Toucan Scraps October 20, 2011 at 5:00 am

wonderful photo, really shows the lean angle.

what a fabulous experience for your kids. thanks for sharing


2 Celina October 20, 2011 at 5:01 am

What a beautiful email and an even more amazing thing for your children to experience. I am so happy I stumbled upon you on Twitter, I will be reading!


3 marilee pittman October 20, 2011 at 5:11 am

Your daughter’s account of the birth of Betty is delightful. She told it with such immediacy, she could be a budding journalist. The account was so matter of fact and yet hels such suspense….


4 Emily October 20, 2011 at 5:34 am

What a great story – and well told! I love the part where the lawn mower goes back to work – farm life returns to normal awfully quickly!


5 Ashlea Walter October 20, 2011 at 5:35 am

I got chills reading it! So wonderful.


6 Victoria October 20, 2011 at 5:51 am

What a fabulous experience for them. Love the way the email was written.


7 Kim October 20, 2011 at 5:58 am

What a beautiful email, and a beautiful story. She’s a writer like her mother.


8 Maria @ Busy as a Bee in Paris October 20, 2011 at 6:01 am



9 teresita October 20, 2011 at 6:05 am

what a great memory for them!! Such a nice email to receive, it’s one of those moments in which you think “they are so grown up”, isn’t it?


10 nadia October 20, 2011 at 6:31 am

such a lovely thing for the kids to experience, they will never forget it and what sweet words were used in sharing their story with there mum.


11 Mariah Bohannon October 20, 2011 at 6:34 am

Thanks to technology, you kinda can be. Well, I mean, it’s not like being there in person, but at least you could know about it. What a remarkable experience of life!


12 angie October 20, 2011 at 6:45 am

This is truly the sweetest thing I’ve heard in a long time. What a beautiful moment to experience! This reminded me of a time when I was young and our cat, Abbey, had kittens under my bed in the middle of the night. I kept hearing these little squeaky mews and peeked under (somewhat horrified, somewhat bewildered) to see these little shadows crawling over my cat. I still remember thinking what a miracle I had witnessed and how fascinating the world seemed all of a sudden :)


13 everton terrace October 20, 2011 at 6:55 am

This was so lovely it brought tears to my eyes.
Mothers are everywhere at once because no matter where your body is, your heart is where your children are.


14 Mom in Mendon October 20, 2011 at 6:56 am

Wonderful! Great story-telling/reporting by Maude, great cow-naming by Betty. Wonderful email, blog post, etc.
Love to all,
Grandma Mac


15 Lexi October 20, 2011 at 7:06 am

I follow your Olive on Instagram and saw her photo of the cow and rainbow yesterday, and now having read Mimi’s story it has all come to life in a beautiful way. Life is beautiful!


16 Kristin October 20, 2011 at 7:45 am

What an absolutely beautifully told story by your daughter. I just loved it so much! I’ll be sharing it with my daughters when they get home from school.


17 amy October 20, 2011 at 8:07 am

beautiful email. made me smile.


18 Damaris October 20, 2011 at 8:12 am

Isn’t it great that Maude went outside? My 19 year old sister is living with us and she keeps running out to the varanda to see if someone is calling her. 99% of the time no one is but at the same time she keeps seeing people she knows and then calls out to them and starts up a conversation. It’s so great. I need to remember to get out more, to listen to interesting sounds and allow myself to go out and see what’s beyond my schedule.


19 Julie October 20, 2011 at 8:17 am

So beautiful! What a great experience for a child, so happy I started my day with that story;)


20 juliagblair October 20, 2011 at 8:29 am

What a marvelous experience! I felt that I was there and loved every minute!
What is the mother cow’s name? Thanks millions!


21 Salem October 20, 2011 at 8:53 am

I saw a cow being birthed on the Thompson’s farm when I was in pre-school. I still remember it(shudder).


22 kelleyn October 20, 2011 at 8:55 am

How wonderful that the neighbor let the girls name the cow! That is priceless. I am sure they will remember that for the rest of their lives.


23 Sandra October 20, 2011 at 9:01 am

A rainbow appeared! Love it!


24 Chels October 20, 2011 at 9:31 am

That is the sweetest!


25 Whitney Smith Cripe October 20, 2011 at 9:35 am

This email, along with the calf’s newborn head, is pure gold. What a treasure. You should take her words and put them into some frame-able form factor…what a treasure.


26 nichshee October 20, 2011 at 10:03 am

Absolutely wonderful e-mail. Unforgettable for us too.


27 amy October 20, 2011 at 10:05 am

that is totally awesome!


28 Ellen October 20, 2011 at 10:17 am

maude writes so eloquently! i’m so glad you received such a great email as a mama!!!


29 Catherine October 20, 2011 at 10:40 am

This is a sweet as can be. A keeper!


30 Natalia October 20, 2011 at 10:51 am

this email is perfect in every way.


31 AnEmily October 20, 2011 at 11:13 am

How beautifully written too! I DO wish I could be everywhere at once, especially there!


32 Sarah October 20, 2011 at 11:13 am

Cute sweet story! And so funny to me because my 10 month old Clara is going to be a cow for halloween. :)


33 Elizabeth October 20, 2011 at 11:37 am

How wonderful for your children — and Maude’s account is so c harming — the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, to use a trite, but apt, expression!


34 whitneyingram October 20, 2011 at 12:43 pm

This is amazing. It reminded me so much of the James Herriot books. Have you ever read any of them? Start with “All Creatures Great and Small”. The whole book is wonderful stories like this.


35 Alisha October 20, 2011 at 1:23 pm

What an amazing gift! They would have never seen that in New York! I love how your Mimi sent you an email with a concise update. It must have been a pretty exciting day for them!


36 Christie October 20, 2011 at 1:40 pm

Lovely story! I bet from the cow’s perspective it would’ve sounded much different ;) Sweet little ladies for keeping their mama abreast of all things on the homefront.


37 Heather October 20, 2011 at 1:55 pm

When I was 10, the neighbors behind our house had a small farm with a lovely old gray barn and Shetland Ponies. Early one fall (or spring?) morning they called us over to the barn. That crisp morning at daybreak with the fog around a Shetland Pony was born. That was over 30 years ago and I will never forget it. Thanks for bringing that sweet memory to mind!


38 kristi October 20, 2011 at 2:15 pm

wow. a magical email that gave me chills. birth of any sort is truly amazing.


39 Erin October 20, 2011 at 2:24 pm

Another great memory that your children will savor for a lifetime!


40 Stacey H October 20, 2011 at 2:30 pm

Ahh! Teary eyes reading that. Thanks for sharing. :)


41 janene October 20, 2011 at 3:54 pm

pure sweetness~


42 kristi October 20, 2011 at 4:21 pm

this totally made my day – thanks for sharing!


43 Amy Mocke October 20, 2011 at 5:19 pm

I love her story. How beautifully written. And how sweet they allowed them to name the new baby!


44 Sarah October 20, 2011 at 5:40 pm

This literally brought tears to my eyes. What a special experience that they both will remember forever.


45 jessicamaylords October 20, 2011 at 5:58 pm

That made me cry! What a beautiful memory your girls will have; they’ll always remember that day.


46 Thia October 20, 2011 at 6:22 pm

That is the sweetest thing I have ever read. Thank you for sharing.


47 Amanda October 20, 2011 at 6:25 pm

oh, wow! That will definitely stay with them! How exciting!


48 Barb @ getupandplay October 20, 2011 at 6:29 pm

What a wonderful writer!


49 Danielle October 20, 2011 at 7:10 pm

It really did give me cold chills, in the best way.


50 Genevieve October 20, 2011 at 7:46 pm

I love the way that was written! How wonderful!


51 Annie October 20, 2011 at 8:12 pm

i just love this! You are giving your kids such nice experiences they will share forever….


52 Haydee October 20, 2011 at 8:36 pm

That was so wonderfully heartwarming. From both your perspective and your girls’ perspective. So great. Thanks for sharing:)


53 Jill Leever October 20, 2011 at 8:37 pm

I will always remember this story too! So beautiful…makes me cry. What a wonderful daughter you have…

Thank you for sharing <3


54 Erin October 20, 2011 at 9:09 pm

That is a fantastic email! Maude included such interesting details.
Enjoy your trip in Italy.



55 Laura Mayes October 21, 2011 at 7:02 am

Maude is such a writer! I love how she describes so much detail with so few words. In just a few sentences, you get the whole birthing story…”The cow was in lots of pain, I could tell. The man reached into her bottom, and pulled out some hooves. A small gold head poked out. The man was covered in blood. He untied the cow.”

Beautiful, Maude!


56 Allyn October 21, 2011 at 8:44 am

This is such a nice story and expressed in such a clear visual way, almost feel like I was there! I love the name Clara :)


57 Missy W October 21, 2011 at 11:27 pm

I read this post yesterday and then thought about it before bed and had to come back and read it again. Your children must be seriously stoked to have you two for parents! Bravo for taking this year head on with SIX children. You are one adventurous (and inspiring) mama, Gabrielle. I also love that Betty knew what that little baby should be named. Too sweet.


58 Monica October 22, 2011 at 4:20 pm

Wow, all I can really say is wow. What a story, what an adorable email, and what an experience for the kids…..wonderful!


59 Erin October 23, 2011 at 11:06 pm

What a pure and beautiful rendition of her experience. Thank you.


60 Kristin October 24, 2011 at 10:19 am

I love every single part of this story!!! Welcome to the world, Clara.


61 Cortnie October 24, 2011 at 11:26 am

It’s clear Mimi needs to write books. Wonderful story!



62 Kathryn October 25, 2011 at 8:43 pm

So beautiful !!! A birth and a rainbow right next door! A sweet memory for your girls. Maude has a great way with words!
Thanks for sharing.


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