“As I look back on my life, I realize that every time I thought I was being rejected from something good, I was actually being re-directed to something better.” -Anonymous
It was the first time in five years I’d cried at my company desk.
I’m sure plenty of other employees had cried sooner; in fact, given the average tenure is less than 3 years, I’d guess most had cried sooner. Not me though… until today’s news. I’d planned on managing a customer that resided in one of my favorite cities, formed a great camaraderie with their executive team through the sales process, told anyone and everyone I knew that I couldn’t wait to start working with them regularly. And then, just as things finalized, my boss informed me that our senior leadership had withheld approval — I needed a few more years’ experience under my belt before they’d let me take on such a high level role.
As the sales announcement came over the company loudspeaker — actually praising me for my contributions to the process — my tears continued to fall. I felt let down, disappointed, and that weekend, I needed to do something to make myself feel better. What else could I give myself to look forward to, especially with my anticipated warm-weather travel schedule for the next 2 years cut in half?
I’m not sure why I didn’t get one sooner. After all, the first 12 years of my childhood were spent begging my parents for a golden retriever. When I wasn’t begging my parents for a golden retriever I was begging family friends who had one to let me pet-sit, every walk or play session increasing my desire for one of my own. When 12-week old Molly came sprinting into our house one cold, January afternoon, my parents returning from what they told us was just a lunch date, I cried happy tears for the first time in my life.
Mia entered my life at a time when I’d been devoting most of my waking hours to work. At 26, single, and ready to move up in the world, I didn’t see a problem with that. But Mia reminded me to slow things down a bit and enjoy the day-to-day. I’d previously looked at living out of a suitcase as an advantageous way to earn travel points; now, home brought its own rewards.
Mia reminded me to snuggle more. It may be an oldest child thing, but as my mom will attest, cuddling has never been my nature. My dog couldn’t be more the opposite. In fact, unlike most dogs, she’d gladly give up eating in favor of laying in bed with her paw touching your arm for the entire day. And with an irresistible teddy bear face, I’ve been inspired to join her regularly, waking up on a weekend or even weekday morning and just lying there, relaxing.
Mia played a part in bringing my dad and I closer with one another; to be honest, we weren’t close at all before I got her, which is why I told my sister I didn’t mind choosing the name Mia, despite knowing my dad’s dog had the same one. Then…he wanted to meet her, and since I kind of wanted to see my dad again, I let my cute little companion build the bridge. My dad’s affection for her, calling her “ain’t right” from the beginning (a title she earned mostly through a strange obsession with socks), in turn earned affection from me.
It was if Mia knew when my dad had died. Not only did she sleep snuggled against me every night for a month, but as my family and I all lay around my sister’s house that first week afterwards, she deliberately took turns curling up with each person, burying her head in, and classically putting her paw on an arm or shoulder. I maintain that one of life’s little ironies is that tears taste like salt, so dogs like to lick them off your face.
Those licks came in handy throughout last year. I’ve explained in previous posts that my leg injury got so bad at one point that I could only sit or lie down on hard surfaces, which often meant the floor in my living room. So what did my — usually only lays on a comfy, soft mattress — dog do? Lay down on the floor with me, again keeping that one paw touching me as if she were a caregiver. Whether or not she was physically a caregiver, she certainly proved to be one mentally.
Like many pet owners, I’ve often called Mia my child, but lately I’ve realized that’s not necessarily an accurate description. She’s someone who has shown me the true meaning of unconditional love; someone to celebrate the ups with, someone to comfort me through the downs, and someone to share in the fun of adventures, from hiking through the mountains, to swimming in the ocean. She is, by all accounts, my guardian angel.
For as much as I cried on that day four years ago, it’s of course occurred to me that the news wasn’t nearly as bad as it seemed — life has certainly taught me since then what constitutes a real “tragedy.” It definitely wasn’t the worst thing to happen to me — at work or otherwise.
But my dog is still the best.
4 years ago I wanted to advance in my career — at a pace much quicker than many before me. I wanted a customer in my favorite location. I wanted to wrack up more travel miles. As I am reminded of every time this day rolls around, I didn’t get what I wanted then….
But I did get exactly what I needed.