True confessions – I can cry pretty easily in my personal life. Maybe it’s because I’m the opposite in my work life. Maybe it’s because I’m just too soft. It doesn’t matter why. It just is. A commercial. A post on social media. An interaction with someone about something emotional to me … it just is.

Yesterday, during one of my 10,000 walks with Lily, I came upon a woman walking a dog the size of my foot. A tiny dog that had the shortest legs! Lily can’t help herself. She thinks every moving object is an opportunity to play. You should see her with a pile of leaves. She started jumping around so we stopped to say hi!

The woman gave us the dog’s name and the breed (standard initial conversation) at which point I mentioned that I was walking my daughter’s dog while she’s in grad school. The woman got tears in her eyes and grabbed a tissue. At first I thought she was feeling bad for me (I had mentioned my kids were gone and maybe I seemed a little sad — I was).

She told me that the little dog was her daughter’s dog. Her daughter passed away and all she had left of her daughter was this cute little dog. She talked about how grateful she was to have a piece of her daughter every day and she wondered out loud about what she might do when the dog dies too.

Deep sigh.

I told her that my daughter was taking the dog with her (likely out east) next year and that I wondered what my life would be like. The woman started crying. I started crying.

F*** COVID. We hugged each other. I thought she would never let go as her arms were around me. She thanked me for caring and we parted ways.

This interaction (all of about 5 minutes) just weighed on me all day (and even now). How is it something so beautiful, as life and being a parent, is so fragile and painful at the same time? Know what I mean?

This was a good reminder to me that every life interaction is critical to our time here on earth. It’s also a reminder to me that hugs really do make a difference.