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Wednesday, September 20, 2006


We were actually running on time this morning, even though a friend called at 7:20 and asked us to take her daughter to school. One extra kid was no trouble, especially since she sat on my bed and read while I admonished my own children to put their shoes on and brush their teeth. Still, things were running relatively smoothly, and I managed to get the three kids in the car by five to eight. So when Megan said she wanted to read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in the car, and Luke offered to run in and get it for her, I figured we could spare an extra minute to let a brother do a favor for a sister.

It’s what happened next that caused the trouble. As Luke ran back out with the book, Tom opened the door to wave goodbye to us again, and the dog darted under his arm, across the street, down an alley, and out of sight. Luke jumped into the street, his face contorted with fear, as Tom went running down the alley in his work clothes.

You just never know when life is going to get exciting.

Last time Spud ran away at least it was the weekend, so he didn’t hit rush hour traffic when he ran across Henry Avenue. Tom was annoyed at having to chase him up to the reservoir where he apprehended the pup playing with another dog, but at least Tom wasn’t late for work, and the kids weren’t late for school. In fact they didn’t know it had happened until it was over. This time Luke squealed anxiously that he hoped Spud wouldn’t be hit by a car or lost forever, as I cruised around the neighborhood with a leash, a doggy treat and three kids, hoping to spot my husband and/or my dog. Finally my cell phone ran with Tom reporting that the fugitive had been caught and Luke heaving a huge sigh of relief in the back seat. Megan went back to reading Harry Potter.

The whole incident didn’t last more than ten minutes, but it reminded me that we never quite know what’s going to happen next, even when we are trudging through a dull routine. It reminded me of the morning five years ago when Luke ran straight into the bathroom door frame, gashing his scalp open under his hair and landing us in the ER in our pajamas on a morning when I was supposed to work. It also reminded me of the morning Luke was holding Spud’s leash, and Spud almost pulled both of them into rush hour traffic on Henry Ave. For that matter, it reminded me of the two friends who have had lumps removed from their breasts recently and a woman I know who just lost her job suddenly.

Certainly positive things can happen unexpectedly, too, as well as accidents much more tragic than any we’ve experienced. But this morning I’m thinking about the gift often contained in life’s little whammies. For example, both my friends found their lumps were benign, and at least one of them has said that the anxious weeks of wondering if she had breast cancer made her more appreciative of her life. I certainly feel more appreciative of Luke whenever he comes safely out of another scrape. I even felt slight remorse this morning for all my complaining about Spud as we drove the neighborhood hoping to see his mischievous trot.

Even though we’re in that time of year that focuses on the dull business of brushing teeth, packing lunches, and signing permission slips, it’s good to remember that life is unpredictable and not to be taken for granted.


Blogger Michelle O'Neil said...

The dog running away at that time of the day would have had me undone! How great that you were able to turn it around and into a lesson in gratitude.

2:47 PM  

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