About two months ago, we found Sydney at a shelter. Having a dog is a completely new thing for me. I grew up with cats and for a long time thought I'd never be a dog person.
But Sydney has been teaching me a few new lessons, or, in some cases, helping to remind me of lessons I learned when my children were very young.
Life is Messy
When my girls were babies, I lived in the land of messiness. Spit-up stains on the back of my t-shirt, caustic diapers that at one time in my life would have left me gagging, wiping up vomit and then kissing that poor, sick, chubby little face -- this was the stuff of the baby days. During toddlerdom, peanut butter replaced spit-up as a wardrobe accent, and I commiserated with other mothers who also rued the stains on carpet from potty training moments and red juice.
Now that my youngest child is almost eight years old, life has gotten much less messy. Only it hasn't, really. I was just fooling myself into thinking so.
Life is still messy. There are countless ways that life can be sticky. I don't ever want to forget that, or to begin thinking that a neatly constructed life is both possible and a goal. Sydney is sloppy and imperfect and infinitely lovable. Like this life.
It's Good to Walk Every Day
Exercise has to happen. Dogs don't care about email or blogs first thing in the morning. They care about getting outside. There's always a great scent to inhale at the park, and somehow that tired old park seems new and exciting each day as we nose into corners heretofore unexplored.
It's Good to Stop and Listen
No walk is so important that we don't have time to stop. And listen. Watch what's passing in front of us. It's good to pay attention to birds and rabbits and potential new friends behind fences. It's essential to stop meandering and just be for a few minutes. Okay. Now we can get moving again.
It's Good to Have a Balanced Life
Exercise. Have regular meals. Sleep. Get scratched behind the ears. Express unbounded joy at the sight of loved ones, always remembering they're the most important thing in your world -- Be ready to give your life for them, and then have another nap. Appreciate treats with every quivering inch of your body.
The only area in which Sydney doesn't get it has to do with books. She just doesn't see the point, so, yeah, there's that. She's not perfect.
But she's exceedingly pleasant to have around, and she's such a good teacher.