I was at a women’s breakfast a few weeks ago, and the organizer used this question for an icebreaker: “Over the past 18 months, what is one thing you are grateful for?” She waited a few minutes, and then one by one, each person took a few minutes to share their thoughts. Since I was number 8 out of 17 attendees, I had time to really think. I was half listening to the other answers, but the qualifier “one thing” intrigued me.
My first facetious thought was, Well, I’m grateful to be alive. But there were times when I really didn’t feel that way at all. From what was filtering through from the other women, I realized I was not the only one who had a hard time walking through those gray days of depression.
But today was a sunny day with just enough marine influence to cool the air. And those dark times seemed remote. Twisting the question just a bit, I thought, What one thing got me through the days of grief, isolation, and fear? And then I realized it was not one thing, it was two, and there they were, Teddy and Sadie romping across my thoughts.
A collage of the many ways the pups got us through the worst of the pandemic popped into my head. From the early days of “No, they will not sleep with us” to the comfort of sleeping with a warm little body curled up next to you—no matter that one is annoyingly on your pillow. The many months of potty training, including 100 torn-up pee pads, all the way through to the return of the rugs. The joy from the very beginning of enthusiastic greetings when we would walk through the door. Our days were laced with distraction, fun, warmth, frustration, unconditional love, and laughter—lots and lots of laughter.
When it finally came to my turn to share what one thing I was grateful for, the table erupted into laughter. These women were with John and I from canine teething to adolescence. And if I had been given two choices, I would have added friends and relatives who walked through this time with us. But for that day, the pups and their daily antics were number one.
And so I’m asking you: over the last 18 months, what is the one thing you are grateful for? You might be surprised at what or who pops into your head. No matter, it is a bright spot to be tucked in among the hard memories and to be cherished close to your heart.