The Power of Poop Bags and Puppies

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snow dogMy dogs sent a card to their pet sitter this week. Inside, they apologized for my forgetfulness. “We are sorry that this check is so late,” the note said. “Sometimes our mom puts too much on her plate and can be forgetful.”

Of course it was me who actually sent the card, complete with an overdue check and a quirky note from the puppies. And of course I added in $10 more than I actually owed the sitter, noting on the subject line: “What I owe you + interest.” Very cute, I thought. I hope it makes her smile.

And then I began to think about the card, the note, and the sentiment. “Sometimes our mom puts too much on her plate and can be forgetful,” it said. Hmmm. What else am I forgetting? And how can I really answer that (since obviously the answers are forgotten)?

Here’s my point: I think we all carry around plates that are just too full. We pile things on, one project on top of another, until we can’t even see the porcelain underneath. Our reasons for creating this weight are as varied as the kinds of things that bog us down: family obligations, work deadlines, personal commitments, emergencies, trips to Target, food shopping, and laundry (Dear God, does the laundry ever end?!). I fear that I find myself moving from one task to another without ever even stopping to take a breath. Of course things get forgotten. I mean, when am I stopping to even THINK?

Sadly, the electronic age has made all of this worse. There’s now an expectation that we’ll do more and do it faster. We don’t have to remember birthdays because Facebook reminds us. And if we want to send flowers, we do it online and they get delivered the same day. There is no need to plan, no time to reflect, no time to savor.

But back to the puppies. Yesterday afternoon, I took them for a walk. It was the first walk we’ve taken in weeks as most days this winter have either been too cold or too snowy for two little pugs (and their mom) to venture outside. I left the phone at home on the counter. It was just me and the pups and a roll of poop bags. Our time together was dedicated to walking. Lucy (the younger of the two), jumped and played on the snow banks, and the older pug, Calvin, sniffed deep into the slush for the smell of something familiar. As we walked in the quiet of late afternoon, all of my other obligations disappeared. I noticed the beauty of ice on tree limbs and the pattern of tiny footprints on snowy lawns. I thought about my parents and how grateful I am for them. I missed my sister who is away on vacation. And memories of a friend made me smile. In 20 short minutes, it was as if my mind saw its way out of a slushy mess and into a fresh new spring.

And then I remembered the check. Funny how when we make time to do nothing, we actually get something done.

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