Some of you know that we got a dog a couple of years ago — Lily. She’s a goldendoodle and she’s my daughter’s dog. I fully intend to write a number of posts about her, because while I love her, she’s a total s*** sometimes!

Right now, my daughter is in Chicago for a 10 month grad. program and Lily is living with me. This weekend we (me and Lily) drove to Chicago. The visit was for Lily to hang with my daughter (and vise versa) and for me to do what any self-respecting Italian/Jewish mom would do for their kid (I bought a ton of groceries and cooked Italian meatballs with gravy!)

Today, on our way back, Lily and I made our final rest stop in Minnesota. As we were walking back to our car (after I “illegally” took her into the bathroom with me rather than leave her alone in the car … don’t ask!) a family poured out of a van — six kids, a mom, a dad and a large doodle.

The two dogs wanted to meet so we walked toward one another. As the dogs were “socializing” the dad told me that they had one more kid in the van with their new puppy. Apparently their road trip was to pick up a new dog for one of the kids who was “not feeling well.” It was at that moment that I noticed one of the kids didn’t have any hair and was walking slowly with one of the other kids holding their hand. The dad told me that his son loved the new puppy and that the goal was for the dog to ease the boy’s anxiety and offer comfort during the difficult days. They were also hoping that the puppy would provide a distraction from his pain.

My heart sank. Of course a new puppy would make him feel better. Even a grown up dog would. Clearly, I take for granted the joy of having a dog, even for this 10 month period (although she still is a s*** sometimes!).

I take for granted that my kids are healthy and moving along with life. I take for granted that I was able to live another day, to drive to Chicago and spend my birthday with my daughter. I just generally take a lot for granted.

It was a slower and more introspective ride home. I have nothing to say here other then we (read: me) need to value each moment and be grateful for the pain and anxiety-free moments that we and our children experience. I wonder who I will run into this year. Whose stories I will tell. This one set me back on my heels. But I’m grateful I had Lily so that I could meet this family today.