If your life is anything like mine, it’s crazy busy. There are times when I feel as though my head is on a swivel; that I’m on a merry-go-round that will never slow down and it’s moving at a dizzying pace, so much so that at times it’s diffiult to catch my breath, to see the beauty of life. One morning this week, as I prepared to walk out my door for work, I was presented with such an opportunity – to see how beautiful life can really be.
As usual, it was a busy morning. I had overslept and was running around like a chicken without her head, aimlessly wandering from one room of the house to the other, trying to get dressed for work. Between my wardrobe changes, I’d run over to my son and daughter a few times to sound the alarm,”5 minutes – I’m leaving in 5.” This is what I did almost every morning – warn them of how many minutes were left before I would leave the house; ready to abandon them if they were not ready. It’s really all a ploy to make sure I don’t have to wait on them and to ensure they were standing by the door when I was ready to leave the house.
This morning was no different. Chaos. Anything that could happen, would happen. A flat tire. Lost keys. A sick child. The utter of: “I don’t want to go to school.” Last minute requests – “Mom, I need money for…” “Can you sign this, mom?” Complaints – “There’s nothing in the fridge to make lunch.” Take your pick.
However, this morning’s chaos would be one for the books. Because I am so good at giving warnings, my teen daughter was already sitting in the mudroom waiting for me, when to my surprise, the doorbell rang. Stunned to hear it rang so early in the morning, me and our yapping dog who’s piercing bark is now drowning out the sound of the doorbell, raced frantically to see who was at the door. Of course, my daughter who was already sitting near the door was now peeking through the peephole.
“Open the door” I said. And there before my tired eyes was…my son. Looking him dead in his eyes, I asked “Why are you not at school? He needn’t answer. I had already decided that he had inconvenienced me. Standing there with a grin on his face that could light up any room, he uttered “I found this dog on my way to school. He’s lost.” I looked down and see this beautiful dog that looked like a mix of Alaskan Husky and Collie. “What do you want me to do about it?” I said. Without blinking, he says, “Help me find his owner. His address is on his collar.” “I am supposed to be at work. I’m going to be late.” I’m thinking to myself.
In the meantime, our dog is violently barking and about to bust through the storm door to get at this dog that is twenty times his size and who is as calm as a statue – unphased. On the flip side, I’m yelling at my daughter, “Get him! Put him upstairs!” With all the commotion, my sleep walking college student finally awakens and grabs hold of our dog. All of this happening during the wee hours of the morning was more than I could have imagined and more than my senses could muster.
Thinking how there is no way on earth, we’re having another dog, another dog in this house, I was moved to ask – “What’s the address?” Without paper and pen nor time to jot down the address or an updated phone with a GPS, I repeated the numbers (6 digits) over and over in my head until they found a place to settle in my brain. It was like I was having an out of body experience, as I found myself backing out of the driveway. Contemplating a drive around my neigborhood where almost all of the streets have the same suffix, I could not believe I was actually going to drive through my neighborhood to find the dog’s owner. Definitely, this was one of those times when I wanted to ignore the signs that adorned the neighborhood lawns which read “Drive like your children live here.”
As I drove in what seemed like circle after circle, overwhelmed I eventually gave up and returned home, saying something I thought I’d never have to say. “The three of you stay home and go find the dog’s owner. I have to get to work or I will be really late.” Pulling out of the driveway, there they stood – my three children with this dog that I prayed would be with his owner by the time I arrived home from work. He/she had to be. There was no way I was living with another dog. No way. I already live with three children, a dog, and a husband. Five was enough.
My drive to work was not the relaxing drive I’m used to – not the time to take a deep breath and enjoy the scenery. Instead, I was making to do lists in my head, and now at the top of that list was sending emails to teachers, explaining why two of my three children would be absent from school.
“Would locating a lost dog’s owner be an excused or unexcused absent?” I thought as I conjurred up the words to explain in the email that my son is not in school today, because he was searching for the owner of a lost dog he found wandering about, on his way to school. He wasn’t at school, because he overslept, because he was moving at snail’s pace, or because he couldn’t find something of importance to him. On the contrary, he was absent from school, because of his heart. That’s what the email response from his principal stated:
“Excuse ____ for having a kind heart.”
I almost missed it. This moment. Beneathe all the chaos, I almost missed this moment to see my son as a beautiful and compassionate human being – someone who cares for others. Surely, there were other students who saw this lost dog wandering about, but perhaps, like me, they too were in such a rush. Too busy to see what was in front of them; too harried to pay attention, because the merry-go-round of life was going so fast, that they too could hardly catch their breath.
The dog was reunited with its owner. My son went to school late. And my heart has been cracked wide open. Thank you son for pulling me off my merry go-round – if only for a moment.