Everyone, meet Stella.

[From May 31, 2016: And just like that, doodles!]

Every time there’s a litter of golden-doodles at my sister’s house, I pick a favorite. And each time, I’ve said goodbye before they’ve gone to their forever homes, always with the thought that “one of these days” we just might get one of our own. “Maybe the next litter,” we always say, you know, when the time is right and life is cooperating and such. Last week, I knew the current crop of nine black & blond bundles was getting ready to leave the nest, so I stopped to say goodbye to them all, but mostly to the one in particular who had stolen my heart this time around. I told the little black puppy to be good to her new mommy and daddy, then I kissed her on the nose before I put her down. She cried. Or maybe that was me.

When someone says “everything happens for a reason,” it takes everything in me to not turn around and throat punch the mother fucker. Then my sister called on Thursday night to let me know that the intended owner for one of the puppies — not just any puppy, but my favorite puppy — backed out at the last minute. Maybe it was a sign, she suggested. Sisters are stupid.

But here’s the thing: If we’re waiting for life to calm down, waiting for some silly sense of “normal” to return, we could be waiting a while. The truth is that this shit storm of ours isn’t going to be a passing fad. This is just going to be, for better or worse, who we are now. So, we’re working to develop a bit of a rhythm to this life that isn’t what we planned, but it is the one we have.

Maybe, just maybe, we can be open to a bright spot in the darkness now and then. Maybe even a little bit of joy.

Everyone, meet Stella.

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