Today is Sunday, December 18th. I walk around the neighborhood with three greyhounds and see decorations everywhere. In the yards, lights on the houses, Christmas trees in the windows . . . and everyone seems to be in a good space, greeting us as we go by, smiling, asking about the hounds . . . it is truly the holiday season.
I come home, unleash the dogs and look around. Just leashes, dog toys in every room, dog beds in every room, one sneaker and one bedroom shoe (Lucky!!!) on the couch, and a huge Great Dane crate in the den for Tanner, the boy with the broken leg.
As of today, there are no lights, no tree and no table decorations. I’ve done no grocery shopping, no baking, and the gifts are in the front room in a pile on the guest bed, waiting to be wrapped.
But wait! I love decorating a festive table and having tons of beautifully wrapped gifts under the tree. I love having a lovely holiday dinner, always preceded by a chilled, crisp champagne, with my family.
I look back at where I was just a few years ago, a full-time executive type who came home every day stressed out, carrying the weight of a public events facility on her shoulders twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. I got up at 5:30 in the morning to obsessively work out. I never left the house without every hair in place and perfect makeup and clothes for whatever the occasion.
Then I look around and I see dogs blissfully dozing everywhere, having just come in from a long walk. I see Lucky, my extremely active foster surrounded by toys he has gathered up and taken to his bed. I see Tanner stretched out on a dog bed at my feet, resting peacefully without pain medication, I see Alex eyeing all the boys warily to make sure he’s still the boss, and I see calm, quiet Ava on her throne (also known as my best couch).
These days my idea of dressing for the occasion is warm, clean sweats, a baseball cap to hide my hair, slapping on some lipstick so my lips won’t chap, and selecting a pair of sneakers that don’t have mud, grass, or worse on them. And most days my workout consists of vacuuming dog hair, bending to pick up poop and numerous walks with the dogs, while practicing my deep breathing.
This morning as I write this, I have four greyhounds in various stages of repose around the room, bellies full, one or another occasionally looking up at me as if to say, is it time yet? In an hour we will load them up and take them to a great fenced-in area for a Sunday morning romp with fellow greyhound owners and friends. We will watch these magnificent animals stretch out as they tear across the field, then come charging back, aimed straight at us (a bit unsettling), tongues hanging out, and we are totally in the moment. Husband Mike and I look at each other and grin. What a life. What a change since first dog Lola entered our life five years ago. It’s humbling and cleansing and gratifying. Thank you, Universe . . .