Cup Running Over

You know those days when you expect something to pay off… and it doesn’t? I had a string of those late last summer. It’s a terrible feeling. You say to yourself, “it’s the journey, not the destination,” “it was never really about that anyway,” but it’s a letdown.

Yesterday, I had the total reverse of that day, and it was awesome. I was coming back from getting a cup of tea at work (my new gig), and a coworker who I’ve talked to a little, but don’t work with much, let me know that someone I used to work with (tangentially— while at my previous job, I worked in partnership with this person’s organization and the team she manages, but maybe only met her once or twice and worked directly with her a handful of times) wrote him a note to let him know what a good hire I was. It was so unexpected and so generous of this person— I was deeply moved.

Later, I went to teach my class. The class was longer than it was supposed to be, and I was 13 hours into my day, worried about how long I had to leave the dog, when a parent came in to pick up her daughter. Last week, another teacher didn’t show and I ended up with 6-8 extra girls, parked in my class. I had absolutely no time to do anything but find them a place to sit and teach the lesson I had planned— I had 45 minutes to teach 90 minutes of material, so I launched into it. I felt terrible— I didn’t ask them their names, I didn’t let my class introduce themselves, I just jumped in. It turned out that one of those extra girls is related to one of the girls in my class. She told her mother that she learned more in that 45 minutes than she had learned in the previous 14 weeks, in her regular class, and the mom asked if she could transfer into my class. I’m not sure whether that will work out, but it was so great to hear that what I’m doing works. I know I love my class and I know I prepare as well as I can, but that’s no guarantee that it’s going to land for them.

Later in the evening, I took mom to the grocery store. Mom takes a long time to shop, and though I had taken the dog on a short walk after class and before dinner, I brought him, and walked him around the parking lot for the first 20 or so minutes that mom shopped. He’s pretty good with this— he’s social, so he likes it when we’re near the store and people pet him and tell him how cute he is— and he’s a scavenger, so he likes it when we’re in the weeds around the store and he can smell things and investigate. I’m watching his activity level, because he’s recovering from an injury, so when he started to limp, I dropped him off at the car and did my own grocery shopping. As I bagged oranges, a woman came up to me and said “Were you the one just outside with the dog?” I said I was. She told me how cute he was and said “it’s obvious how much he loves you.” I totally agree about how cute he is, but it moved me to hear her say she can see how much he loves me.

He’s an extremely sweet, good-natured dog, and really friendly. But when I was picking him out, my friend told me about how she was in a dog park, when she met her rescued dog, and she knew it was a fit when he ignored the other dogs and came to her. That would basically never happen with my dog. I met my dog at Oktoberfest in a small town about an hour from where I live. There was a polka band and food booths and kids running and playing and people everywhere, and he was playing with another dog, and he was having so much fun, he could not have cared less that I was there. It seems very similar now, when we go to the dog park or the pet store. Which is good— he was friendly with me then and is slightly friendlier now, but I’ve sacrificed a lot for the dog already (money, for sure, and time, and energy, and personal property…). The idea that I might be his human in the way he’s my dog, in a way that might be discernible to others— it moved me. She spoke about him looking at me adoringly, and I was watching him pretty closely and he was mostly looking for tasty treats under bushes, but I’ll take it, even if it’s not objective.

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