@foxhollowstudios ・・・ “I always feel connected to my paintings but this one in particular has a special place in my heart. 🌿 I’ve talked a bit about our son’s special needs but I have never really gone into my daughters autoimmune disorder. At times it has been even more challenging and difficult to find solutions for than any of Declan’s challenges. I met Saundra from @dulcededonke through a Pans/Pandas group. She is doing some pretty amazing things for kids with autoimmunity, pans/pandas and spectrum disorders. In November, she is hosting an incredible event in Oklahoma to bring amazing speakers and healing modalities to families that may otherwise not be able to afford it. I’ll give more details in the coming weeks but message me if you have a child with one of these disorders or know someone who does. It’s going to be incredible and a blessing to so many families. 🌿 For now, enjoy the process painting of this beautiful animal."
--Tabitha Paige, Fox Hollow Studios
When I saw this painting, I knew it was our Belle. Maybe you can't recognize a donkey by a few strands of ear hair, but some of us can. When an animal plays a part in saving your daughter, it suddenly means more to you than just any old donkey. You get to know their personality. The way she's best friends with Midnight the Rescue Kitten, and the way Midnight only likes Belle, of all the donkeys on the farm.
Tabitha had reached out to me a few weeks before, wanting to do something to help with the #HeeHawforHealth event in November on our Donkey Dairy. She understands the struggles of parenting a child with special needs, better than most. She has two special children, each one unique in their needs and special in their own way. She amazes me with her generosity, and her talent, and her unbroken spirit. (Follow her @Foxhollowstudios and you'll see what I mean...beautiful home, beautiful art, beautiful family, but best of all, beautiful hearts.) She sells her work at the Silos at Magnolia Market. And somehow she found time to paint this amazing piece of our Belle.
I'm not a crier. But this brought tears to my eyes. Weeks ago, I had sent Tabitha an overkill abundance of photos of our herd to pick from. I didn't give her my favorites, or point her in any direction, I just sent them and that was that.
Then Belle foundered. Our Vet has seen her multiple times, and we all decided that we would have to stop milking her in order to save her life and give her the medicine and pain killers she needs to get through this. A friend and volunteer and ASD / PANDAS mom donated a session with her homeopathic practitioner, and we've dosed her every 30 minutes, 8 times a day, for days on end. An herbalist and midwife gave us an herbal drink to balance her pH, (Belle wouldn't touch it...I've tried it, and I don't blame her. The good for you stuff is sometimes the nastiest.) And after wrapping and padding her feet over and over and having them fall off instantly in this rain, we bought her fancy padded ortho-hoof boots to wear.
Some days I think she's turned the corner. She's up and eating and has her goofy donkey grin on her face.
Then she goes down, hard. And I can see the misery in her eyes. She groans with each breath. (A lot like me when I was 8 months pregnant...come to think of it.)
I asked our Vet if he would tell me if it was time to put her down.
He said we would know.
So when I saw this curly ear hair and realized Tabitha had painted Belle, it brought me to tears.
Not because we could lose Belle.
Not because this is an incredible painting by an amazing artist who is also a kindred spirit and a PANDAS mom.
Not because she's donating this amazing piece to be auctioned for the Hee Haw for Health event for kids with chronic illness.
But because she unknowingly chose the one donkey who so perfectly represents what our families and these children go through, over and over again.
An illness that's invisible. Pain that no one understands. Good days. Bad days. And everything in between.
She said she was just drawn to paint this donkey.
And now she knows why.
No such thing.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go show a donkey a video of a painting. I think she'll enjoy it. Almost as much as I did.
Thank you Tabitha.
(I can't post the video of the process here, you'll have to go to her Instagram account @foxhollowstudios to see that. And you should. It's amazing.)