It’s 8:00 a.m. on a Sunday, and Daisy is mad at me.
She’s on a mission to make her disappointment known. It’s in every sigh that falls with a hefty clank of her exhale.
Every tinny whine in her throat.
The side eye stare.
The paws crossed with contempt.
The lifeless tail that refuses to thump-thump-thump with joy.
It’s 8:00 a.m. on a Sunday, and my chocolate lab is mad at me…because I have the actual nerve to leave the house without her.
It’s my fault, really. I made her this way.
One of my priorities as a new puppy parent was to make sure she liked riding in the car. I’m often on the go. My dad planned to have Daisy as a sidekick for his pheasant hunting excursions in Iowa or North Dakota. It was crucial that my dog did not have a problem riding in a vehicle.
I prepped Daisy from day 1. I’d never leave the house without looking to her first.
“Daisy,” I’d start, my voice solemn and serious, “do you want to go for a RIDE?!” My tone would rise with enthusiasm.
She'd stare at me, her puppy belly folded underneath her like a chubby accordion.
“A RIDE!” I’d repeat. “Let’s go for a RIDE!” I wanted her to associate the word with fun and excitement and positivity. Then we'd go in the car and I'd take her somewhere she liked: A park. A trail. A pond.
And, well…it worked.
It didn’t take long for her to wiggle and wag her way out the door when I'd ask about a ride. She hopped with fervor into the backseat. As I drove, her tongue lolled out of her mouth as the wind blew her ears back while she faced the world wide-eyed out the window. She learned to love parking lot cart chasers and stop light lane neighbors and free “puppachinos” from Starbucks.
Now I don’t even have to say “ride.” Daisy searches for the signs.
When I go to my closet to change clothes or find earrings or switch socks, Daisy lingers near the doorway. Because Mom is probably getting ready to go for a ride.
If I say, “Daisy…?” she tilts her head and perks her ears. Because Mom is probably asking me if I’d like to go for a ride.
If I put on a coat, grab my purse, put on a pair of shoes, walk toward the door, or--
better yet— all of the above, Daisy is all,“I better get my feet tippy-tapping because we are going for a ride.”
When I go somewhere, I usually take Daisy with me. She’s my favorite co-pilot.
But not today. Today, I am heading up north on a road trip with one of my best friends. And Daisy is staying home…for now.
I stand near the front door and look toward the living room. I zip up my coat, and I see my sad, angry chocolate lab. She’s lying on the carpet like a puddle of passive aggression. Her brown eyes bore into mine as she watches me put on one boot, then another.
I can’t help but smirk.
Daisy is all side eyes and stares and sulk. She’s disappointed. She’s heartbroken. She feels stuck and trapped in the same room with the same view with no end in sight. She’s alone. She’s confused.
She doesn’t understand. All she knows is she’s missing out on the best thing she could have done today.
But little does she know, something better is coming along.
Her absolute favorite person in the whole world—my dad—is coming to get her in one hour. He’s going to take her to her favorite place—my parents’ house: a wooded wonderland where she can romp and play and chase squirrels and run free—and have a heck of a lot more fun than a quick jaunt in the back of my car.
With me, she would have gone on a ride.
With him, she’s going to go on an adventure.
All she has to do is wait one hour.
So I smirk. Because I realize: I’ve been Daisy. You’ve been Daisy. We’ve all been Daisy.
We don’t understand why.
Why did we lose this?
Why are we stuck here?
Why aren’t we getting new results? A different diagnosis?
Why can’t I go?
Why can’t they stay?
Why isn’t this changing?
We feel like we lost the best thing. House. Job. Person. Situation.
But the thing is: we only know what we know right now.
We don’t know what’s around the corner.
We don’t know what’s behind the door.
We don’t know what’s an hour away.
All we can do is wait. And waiting seems like the hardest thing in the world.
In the waiting, the questions come. The doubts. The uncertainty in the why and how. The certainty that nothing beats what it was we just lost. Or what we haven’t gained.
Like Daisy, we sit in the quiet. Stare at the walls. Feel the feelings. Sigh the sighs.
But then—then!— the door will open.
Something different—something new, something that was always meant for you but it was waiting until this moment, right here, right now—will greet you with open arms.
And maybe your feet will tippy-tap, too.
(Note: When I read this out loud to myself after writing it, Daisy heard me say the word “ride.” So guess what we had to go do?)