Ratatouille Goat Cheese Tart / Goats Love Mae

It’s so hot here I think my brain is melting. It's one of those Summers when you feel like every part of you is moving at the same pace as swimming in a hot mud pit. I am afraid it has done the same thing to my whit and amazingly enough even slowed down my ability to rant about things. Either that or I am becoming more tolerant of things that annoy me. Nah... it has to be the heat. So all I have for y’all today is some stories about goats. Yes, goats.

There isn’t a lot of funny stories from our hurricane evacuation days but there are a couple. For Katrina, we made sure to get out of town as soon as they declared a hurricane evacuation. Luckily, my parents had relocated to the mountains of North Carolina. So we headed that way. On one of those beautiful mountain days, we went to a local farm. I grabbed my two little girls by the hand and we head toward the goat pen. All of sudden all the goats came up to the fence right in front of us. In unison, they all start braying. Now I don’t know if you have heard a goat bray but it sounds a lot like “ Maeee”. Well, to my 3-year-old daughter Mae this was the most amazing thing she had ever seen or heard. With her eyes wide she turned around and said, “Mommy they know my name, they love me”. I couldn’t break her little toddler heart so I agreed those goats must really love you if they all know your name. What I didn’t know was that for the entire rest of our stay she would insist on seeing her goat friends every day. If not there was hell to pay. If you have ever had a stubborn toddler you know the hell I am talking about. So every morning we headed to her goat friends and every day they came right to her and yelled out “Maeee,Maeee,Maeee,Maeee” and she loved it. It took her weeks to get over the loss of her goat friends. It has become a family tradition to yell out “Maeee” every time we saw a goat.

Years later I was on a very rare trip away from my kids. To let you know how little I am away from my girls, just last week I was away from them for one night and broke out in tears at breakfast because there was a little girl sitting next to us. Just that little voice in the background made me miss my girls. I made a point of trying to enjoy myself instead of obsessing over what my girls were doing. Midway through the trip, it was getting hard so we decided to go on a long hike through the island mountains. It was working, the physical exertion combined with the beautiful scenery was making me feel better. Then there it was a -tiny baby goat perched on a steep incline staring at me. Before I could stop myself I look at him and yell “Maeeee” his little head perks up and yells back “Mooooom”. I thought I was losing my mind, did that goat just say “ Moooommmm”? Was Mae right? Does she have some strange goat to human bond? I am now frozen, there is no way I am leaving a baby goat calling me Mom. Lucius has backtracked to find out why I disappeared.  

“What are doing Jolie?”

“Lucius I swear that goat is saying, Mom.”

“Jolie, the goat is not calling you Mom.”

“Watch! Maeeee!”

Goat- “Moooom!”

“ I told you!”

“How the hell did you find a baby to call you Mom on a mountain on a tiny island?”

“Babies know. Even baby goats know when a Mom is near.”

At that moment the actual Mom popped out from the ridge of the mountain and headed down to scoop up her baby. As we walked away I could hear that tiny goat voice bouncing through the mountains. I enjoyed every second of those little goat “Mooooom”s. Lucius that day, I think finally understood. I can go anywhere and do anything but in the end, I am first and foremost a Mom. I don’t mind it, my girls gave me back my life and I love them with every fiber of my being. I do have to learn to resist the urge to grab other peoples babies when mine isn’t around, there is no answer that makes that look normal. “Look, lady, I wasn’t kidnapping I just wanted to smell her head and squeeze those chubby little legs.” 

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