Old Gray Mary

Yosemite 2021

My dogs just recently turned 11. I do not know how to calculate the “dog years” thing, but I know it’s old.

Maybe it’s the gray hair on their backs, or the vet suggesting they do some “senior” bloodwork. Or perhaps it is the constant banter from strangers who often say, “Oh my goodness. Look at those old dogs. How cute.” Listen here Linda. Just compliment their sweaters and move it along.

My mom used to always say, referring to herself when trying to keep up, “Old gray Mary” ain’t what she used to be.” Well, at least I thought that was what she was saying. I was today years old when I discovered that she was actually saying, “Old Gray Mare.” Old gray mare was a children’s folk song supposedly written about a top racehorse in the 1800’s. Lady Suffolk was her name. Who knew? Apparently my mom.

I did have a talk with my old gray mares recently. It went something like this. “Ok, so….Y’all are going to live forever, right?” That was it. That was the talk.

These dogs are happy, energetic and the most loving beings on the planet. Not to mention the best road trip partners EVER. As if they had a choice.

Due to nature’s aging process, my gal dog has a few gray hairs, a shaky back leg and a leaky bladder. And, To be fair, so do I.

Anyway, lately I have found myself, “foreboding my joy” as Brenè Brown calls it. It’s when you are basically dress rehearsing for tragedy.

I can be enjoying the moment and then all of a sudden….OMG. My dogs are going to die. Which one will die first? Am I going to have to make the decision? How much longer will it be? Should I wait to move? And the next thing you know, it’s been two hours and I’ve gone down a rabbit hole googling when do dogs die?

And now I’ve missed a solid two hours with my dogs that are still, in fact, here. And very much alive.

Foreboding joy. I imagine it stems from fear of loss. Fear of loss makes me feel out of control. So let me try and gain some control back by googling all of this and get some solutions. Right?

Well, Guess what? There is no magic fortune teller that has all of these answers. The only solution is to try and regain some inner peace. And I can do that by coming back to the present moment and letting go of the illusion of control. Come back to this moment. This moment is never not now. Enjoy every second with my pups.

My gratitude practice has been an anchor in the storm. It has been my foundation when the sun is shining. And sometimes, I forget. So, I’m writing this, so that I can remember.

I would like to think at this point, if you’re still reading, that you are experiencing a little gratitude too. Maybe because you can relate to these wild thoughts that can yank you out of the moment in an instance. And perhaps knowing I do too, you feel less alone. Or you do not relate at all and are completely grateful that your brain does not work like mine. Haha.

My hope is that the moment I begin to dress rehearse for tragedy, I may be a reminded to practice gratitude. Right here. Right now.

In this moment, I am well. And in this moment, I am grateful for my old gray mare resting his chin on my leg.

A lady once said to me, “If you have one leg in the past and one leg in the future, you piss all over the present.” So, don’t piss on the present. Plus, that’s gross.

The one thing that is certain is that everything is uncertain. The only moment we truly have is right now. And no matter what happens in the moments now and the moments to come, I am always taken care of.

Who knows how many road trips are left with my furry angels. But you had better believe I am going to enjoy every last one of them.

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