Ah, the glorious holidays! I love the holidays, spirits are high, eggnog is plentiful and cabin fever has not yet set into my household. But, there was a time, not long ago, when it was a stressful and my animal companions take a back seat to social obligations, which created even more stress. They were and are an important part of my life; they are my ‘significant other’ in many ways. I LOVE being with them. But during the holidays my mind was dashing every which way with, ‘I had to be here, I had to do this, there were cookies to bake , packages to wrap and of course the obligatory gift to someone I didn’t really want to gift, but it would look bad if I did not . The list was endless. And while my mind was in fifth gear, it was so easy to forget what made me smile every day, the happy little faces of my girls. My beautiful, patient four- legged girls.
One afternoon my girls helped me reclaim my peaceful balance with a spiritual lesson only they could teach. I was multi-tasking. A batch of cookies was on the counter waiting to cool so they could be boxed and while I waited I thought to wrap some presents. I spread out my supplies on the living room floor and began while two of the girls whined in excitement at the annual ritual of flashing paper and bright ribbons. They always liked to be on something new. I was wrapping and trying to keep their big feet off the paper when I heard something that didn’t quite sound right coming from the kitchen. The cookies! I took a quick count of dogs, discovered mama Ammulett was not in the room and made a mad dash to save the cookies. Of course, I was too late. There she stood, her graying muzzle angled to slurp another gingerbread man from the cooling rack, frozen in time as she realized she had been discovered. Then, with reflexes belying her age, snatched the last one. It was amazing how fast a dozen cookies could ‘go missing’. I was so mad! I started to give her a piece of my mind when I hear a crash from the living room…I raced around the corner, followed by Ammulett, to find the other two girls prancing around with a roll of paper in a game of keep away. While Echo tried to keep it from Vision she swung it right into the Christmas tree, sending bulbs flying.
“Hey! What is going on in here?” I used my best ‘yard’ voice, causing all motion to stop.
I scowled at them. They looked right at me. Slowly, a tail wagged, then two…and then they exploded as they ran up to show me the great game they had found, making a happy whine to invite their mom and I to play. Ammulett accepted.
I looked around the living room at the chaos and realized how silly it was to put so much effort and worry (let’s not forget the stress!) into things that can be undone in a matter of minutes.
The girls live in the now. They saw an opportunity to have fun and they seized it in a big way. It got me to thinking, how many opportunities have I let go by? How much effort do I put into fleeting things? Now is what counts, this moment. Some of that which got destroyed, I didn’t even want to really do. So, I played with them a while before getting my house back in order.
It was a good reminder. Presently, I enjoy my holidays. I go only when I feel I will enjoy the experience. Sometimes cookies get made, sometimes not. Polly gets a present- or not. And you know what? In the big scheme of things, hardly anyone notices.
Our animal companions are wonderful at teaching the ‘NOW’.
So, enjoy them while they are with you, no matter what they are doing. Because they are in themselves fleeting, and that crazy little look she gave you in that moment might have to last you a long, long time.