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When you think you've got life under control, add other puppy to humble you

Posted December 20, 2016

We offered to watch our friends' dog a few weeks ago while they went on a family vacation because life at home wasn't quite exciting enough (cough). This would make four boys and two dogs under my care for the majority of the day. I don't know what it is about me attracting crazy but I must admit, I am really good at it.

One day, I decided to take the dogs on a walk, which meant I also had my kindergartener, 3-year-old toddler and 19-month-old baby in tow. I was feeling ambitious and perhaps a bit stir-crazy so I bundled the children up, packed the stroller, hooked the dogs onto leashes and set out.

The air was crisp and clean, and the clouds were wrapped around the mountains like a big fluffy down comforter. Cars passed on the wet streets making a whooshing sound as they drove by. I was so proud and couldn't stop myself from thinking, "See? This isn't so bad. I totally got this."

We reached the schoolyard and I gave my 6-year-old his good luck kiss. "I love you!" I called as he waved and ran off. The dogs wagged their tails. My toddler smiled and happily rode his scooter in front of me. I looked down and noticed my baby had fallen asleep. The sun came out. I almost wept for joy.

As we headed back home in a state of unnatural calmness, my toddler suddenly turned back around.

"Mommy, can Cowboy pull me?"

Our little puppy who was suddenly not so little anymore — in fact, he weighed more than my toddler did by about 10 pounds — had begun pulling Briggs on our walks for short distances (down the street) when he got tired. It was the sweetest thing.

"Of course, my precious one," I replied and floated over to where he stood to hook our dog's leash to my sons' scooter.

"Yay!" he yelled, looking down at our small horse of a dog. "Let's go!"

In that moment, time stood still. And then everything began to unravel in horrifying slow-motion.

My dog began to run. My son lost control of the scooter. Down he went. I began to run. My neighbor's dog, who was still tied to my stroller where my sleeping baby lay, began to run. Down the stroller went, spinning 180 degrees on one wheel before falling over into the snow. Briggs screamed. I screamed. I hurried to right the stroller just as I heard a car pull up next to me.

"Are you OK?" my sweet friend asked, rolling down her window. "Do you need any help?"

Miraculously, my baby was not hurt and somehow even stayed asleep, snow now covering his closed lashes. I brushed it off.

"Can't you tell I have everything under control?" I answered with a grin. "No, we're fine. I'm fine. It's all fine. I ... got this."

We walked home a bit more frazzled.

That night, I told my husband about my adventures.

"I keep waiting for life to settle down and for me to get a handle on things, but it just hasn't happened," I said. "When will it not be so crazy?"

"We may just need to accept the fact that this is our life right now," he said.

This is my life right now. Four little kids, a dog (or two) and lots of crazy. But even amid the chaos, there are moments of beauty and joy and pure happiness that I wouldn't trade for anything (except maybe a nap). Instead of fighting it, fighting for it has become my mantra.

I've totally got this.

Carmen Rasmusen Herbert is a former "American Idol" contestant who writes about entertainment and family for the Deseret News. Her email is carmen.r.herbert@gmail.com.

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