Anna pouted and crossed her arms over her chest. "Why do I have to stay at the farm this summer?”
Momma gently patted Anna’s arm. "We’ve already discussed this. You are eight years old. You’re too young to stay home alone."
"Why can't you stay home with me like last summer?"
"You already know the answer. I work now that Daddy is gone. I can't afford a babysitter. I promise to visit you soon. Try to have fun."
Momma turned the car onto a narrow dirt road past a rustic wooden sign which read, "Honeysuckle Farm."
Frowning, Anna opened the car door and inhaled the odor of fresh manure mixed with summer heat. Anna winced as her grandparents hugged her tightly and planted kisses all over her face.
Once Papa had taken her suitcase inside, Momma hugged Anna one last time before she drove away.
"Go look around honey. You're going to love staying on the farm,” Mimi said.
"I don't have any friends here. There’s nothing to do," Anna whined.
"Oh, there’s plenty to do. I have a feeling you will make some new friends too."
Anna looked around and rolled her eyes. As far as she could see, there were open fields and smelly animals for miles around.
Anna kicked her feet in the dirt. "It would take a miracle for me to find a friend here."
Mimi smiled as Anna strolled away.
With her head down, Anna strolled the dirt path towards the barn. She missed her daddy. She couldn’t understand why he left her so soon. As she strolled along thinking about her daddy, the sound of squawking chickens startled her.
She stopped to watch a mother hen hovering over her eggs as if she were cuddling them. It seemed so unfair, Anna thought wiping tears from her eye, even an egg has a momma to cuddle, but I don’t.
Not long later, Anna arrived at the fence bordering the pasture where the horses lived. A tiny brown colt nursed from his mother. “You’re so lucky,” Anna whispered to the colt.
A family of birds flew over and landed on a nearby tree branch. The family began singing a happy tune together. Anna just wanted her family together so they could be happy like the birds.
A little further down the path, a herd of goats nibbled at grass in the afternoon sun. One of the goats looked different from the others. She had a huge belly, so she waddled along slowly while the other goats ran past.
"There you are Anna," Papa said. "I see you've met Nanny."
"Who's Nanny?" Anna asked.
"Nanny is the one with the fat belly. Her baby is due any day,” Papa answered.
“I didn't meet anyone. I certainly did not meet a goat. I just want my momma."
Holding back tears, Anna ran toward the house and into her bedroom where she cried herself to sleep without eating supper.
When Anna awoke, it was dark outside, but she heard people stirring around in the house. She didn't understand why older people got up so early. She rolled over and tried to fall back asleep, but when she closed her eyes the bedroom door creaked.
"Anna, do you want to go out with me?" Papa asked.
"Where would we go in the dark?" Anna responded.
"The sun is rising soon. It’s time to feed the animals, but first I need to check on Nanny,” Papa answered.
Anna dressed and followed Papa outside.
Anna and Papa walked down the dirt path past the chicken coop and the horses until they reached the field of goats. Papa scanned the entire field, then he frowned. "I don't see Nanny."
Anna followed Papa as he opened the gate to search the field for Nanny. The small goats bounced up and down with excitement. Playfully, the goats chased Anna and Papa as they searched for Nanny.
“Papa, why are the goats so tiny?”
"These are Pygmy goats or miniature goats. They make great pets. Aren’t they cute?”
Anna didn’t answer, but she couldn’t help but think the goats were adorable.
In a far corner of the field, Nanny laid on the ground perfectly still. The only movement was a wiggle near her belly. Papa reached down and touched Nanny. His face dropped as he frantically checked her over.
"She's gone," he finally said as he lifted a tiny baby goat into his arms. "Little man, you're Momma is gone."
"Will he die too?" Anna asked reaching to pet him.
"He won’t die.”
“He’s so tiny. He needs his mother.”
"Mimi will care for him until he's ready to be out in the field with the others."
Papa carried the baby goat toward the house. Anna walked by his side wondering how the baby would live without his momma.
After Papa told Mimi about what happened to Nanny, she wiped tears from her eyes and said, "I'll get his milk ready."
While Papa and Anna waited for Mimi to prepare the milk, Papa asked, “Anna, would you like to hold the kid?”
Anna nodded and asked, “Why did you call him a kid?”
“Baby goats are called kids.”
Anna snuggled the baby goat in her lap. She gently patted his back while waiting for Mimi to return.
"Anna, would you like to feed him?" Mimi asked as she returned with the bottle.
Anna nodded her head. “How did you know what to feed him?”
“Baby goats drink goat’s milk. I always keep milk saved back just incase I need it, like today.”
Anna cuddled the baby goat as she fed him from the bottle.
"Would you like to name him?" Papa asked.
"Yes. Since he’s my friend, I'll call him Buddy, " Anna answered.
“That’s a perfect name,” Mimi said smiling.
Snuggling Buddy tightly, Anna looked down and patted his head as she said, “You will be okay, Buddy. I don't have my momma right now either. I'll take care of you. We can be friends."