I am grateful. For many things and right now, it’s important for me to remember them.
A couple of weeks ago I played with my dog, Marah. I play with her on a daily basis but this day was exceptional. I adopted her 12/5/20. She is two years old and has been given up twice. (In fairness, the last time was the foster family but she doesn’t understand that concept.) She has followed me everywhere. All the time. She sleeps in bed with me (under the covers even), goes to the bathroom with me, she walks from the living room to the kitchen and back again. She is 13 pounds and when I’ve been gone longer than a few minutes, she can nearly knock me over with her excited kisses. I’m used to playing tug-of-war with her and even fetch but this game of fetch was different. I’d throw the ball, she’d grab it and then run around in circles from the living room, through the kitchen and back again before dropping the ball in my lap and waiting expectantly for me to throw it again. Around and around she ran in circles and that in itself brought joy but it also drug up memories of Tasha, our family dog when I was growing up. We’d sit and pound the carpet with flat hands, “go girl, go!” we’d shout and she was eager to please. Marah and I played for about 20 minutes before she took a few long laps at her water bowl and collapsed on me in a contented exhaustion and we watched “Judge Judy” like a couple of couch potatoes.
A couple of days later, it was a Wednesday, I was miserable. In physical pain and mental… ment-hell? Tired, run down, burnt out. I texted a couple of people, received positive responses and was. DONE. I cried. And cried. And cried some more. I didn’t want happy, positivity. I guess maybe it felt like a brush off? I was feeling disconnected from people, wanted closeness but it wasn’t/couldn’t happen. It’s hard to remember that no feeling lasts forever, especially when you’re in the middle of it. Olivia was starting to crumble. We’re trying not to let her nap anymore so she’ll sleep through the night. It sucks. But now it was around 4:00pm. Too late for a nap anyway. I don’t know how but believe me when I tell you, I gathered Herculean strength and got out of bed. I dragged Olivia and her little red circular sled and trudged out to the small hill right outside our door. We’d had the sled for a little while but it’d never been used. This was her first time going down the hill. The snow wasn’t slick which helped her take it slow and steady. She’d slide a bit and get hung up, I’d follow and push again. We did this three or four times before she’d finally reached the bottom. I was starting to dread having to heft the both of them back up again and then I saw the black lining of his winter coat flapping in the lazily in the slight wind. I cautiously raised my gaze, searching for the hero I needed and deserved. Yes, it was my oldest. My 17 year old who took the seemingly 1000 pound disc and the toddler I’d failed to even see the face of as she came to a stop at the bottom of the slope. With a relieved expression and a whispered “thank you”, I backed up to the side of the building to rest and watch. Over and over I got to see and hear gleeful squeals and proud smiles as my babies played together. The cherry saucer slipped down the hill faster now, with a worn path and when her nose turned the color of the sled, we called it a day. I don’t know how much time we spent outside, not more than 30 minutes but it felt like it cured me of the hours beforehand. I felt like I would make it through the day with my sanity in tact and I couldn’t have asked for a better way to turn things around.
Finally, a trip to the grocery store. Not the height of excitement I’m usually looking for but hey, now days, it’ll get the job done. From the front of the store, through the middle and to the check out lane, Olivia and I had run into this older couple. Mid-late 80’s I’d guess. Olivia, with her 1000 watt smile gave them no choice other than to smile back. Then she’d play coy and hid her face in mama’s sweatshirt. A couple of isles later, we saw them again. They waved. She covered her eyes briefly before moving them away and yelling “peek”! The woman’s hand went to her chest and her husband’s mouth formed the letter “o” as he let out an “awe”. When it was time to check out, I wasn’t surprised to see them in line behind us. The woman came up to me and said “You have the most beautiful little girl… she made our day, no, made our entire month!” I smiled and thanked her for the kind words. As we’d packed up our groceries and were about to head outside, the man said “bye” and Liv blew a kiss. He came up to her and grabbed her little hand to shake it, unaware that during our trip she’d been eating a peanut butter sandwich and it had left its mark. A slimy, sticky coat covered her hands and one of his fingers. Luckily, I don’t go far without hand wipes and all was good. It was a sweet thing and kinda funny too!
Since I started this post, there have been things everyday to be grateful for- I just have to remember to open my eyes.