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Last week, kerfuffles and complications seemed to be the theme. I could have handled the gushing water in my basement. Or, bounced back from barricading from and fervently sterilizing the kitchen after the maintenance guy with the raging cough my landlord sent to fix the leak left my apartment. I would have moved on after saving and subsequently cleaning up after the frantic bird who managed to get into the garage or getting my car stuck in the snow. Even a handful of other hurdles wouldn’t have been more than bumps in my days. But, the dilemmas kept coming by the dozens.

I have so much to be grateful for, both my health and Gavin’s, people who love me, food when I’m hungry, a roof over my head when sleet and snow pummeled many of our cities, and so much more. But repeating mantras didn’t ease the scatteredness that I was feeling. Even my online workouts didn’t relieve a smidgen of stress.

The week before, I was so proud of myself for having found a way to have my cream cheese and ricotta delivered for free! Then I received a message that the delivery driver left my order at the wrong address. No big deal, it was a couple of blocks away so I went to pick them up. Despite giving Gavin his usual home-alone set-up and being gone for only ten whole minutes, he started stress derping as soon as I got home.

So, I sat on the floor with him, and he leaned against me while I felt grateful that I like keeping my home clean and tidy. We happened to be facing the window, and there were birds on my neighbor’s roof, tons of them. They were milling and fluttering about together, doing what birds do. I was in awe. I love nature. Just then, Gavin’s ears perked up, and I knew he noticed what seemed like our own personalized National Geographic episode, too.

Watching them flap and hop about relaxed Gavin as I felt him melt into the crook of my knees, my arm curled around him. He noticed before I did, but one of the neighborhood feral cats jumped on the roof, and the birds scurried and scattered, flying away. Gavin went to the window to look at the fearless feline. He was fine. My sweet boy just needed a little reassurance and support.

Dogs make it look so easy to ask for help. I spent my whole week muscling my way through what seemed, at the time, like moment after moment of minor mayhem. It wasn’t until I said out loud to my friend Saturday night that I was struggling, and with a bit of comfort and a big hug, I felt like me again. I even cracked the corny jokes that made me laugh. He somehow miraculously finds them funny, too.

When Gavin and I walked the next day, 30 degrees felt warm. The sun shone on the snow just right for me to see it glitter. Gavin was delighted at all the other people who ventured out, too, and gladly responded to his requests for greetings. As we walked, I looked at the trees. In their starkness, they’re still strong. They’re standing, grounded, and growing, no matter what winds blow through them. And, when I didn’t think my heart could feel fuller, two cardinals fluttered through the branches together and followed us for a part of our path.

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