One of the chapters in our Lead Like Louie book is titled Sunrise, Sunset. I shared that Louie was all boy and was still very much a puppy at the time, and that was exasperating!

Though I had tried to burn off some of his energy by taking long walks, visiting dog parks, and having him run around the backyard with his buddies, many times, it wasn’t enough.

The frustration with the overly energetic puppy stage made me want to hurry through life. Or, more specifically, to hurry Louie’s maturity. Here we are in 2024, and my Louie boy is clearly a senior dog. He still walks by my side with a bit slower prance, his eyes are still bright, and he smiles a lot.

Thinking of him passing through life so quickly gave me PAWS. Why do we try to speed up our lives? I remember cradling Marisa for her early morning feedings when she was a baby. I would look out my bedroom window as the neighborhood children waited for the school bus. Weary from sleeplessness, I thought to myself, “I can’t imagine her going to school. I will always be rocking this little baby, feeding her, changing her diapers.” And now I stare into the eyes of her children and wonder where the time went. Many times, while talking to my granddaughters, if I just blink, I swear I am talking to my daughter when she was their age.

Though my father has been gone for 38 years, I have fond memories of him singing. He was a fabulous singer, although he kept his day job as a Cincinnati Police Officer. He used to sing a song from Fiddler on the Roof titled “Sunrise, Sunset.”

“Is this the little girl I carried? Is this the little boy at play?
I don’t remember growing older, when did they?
When did she get to be a beauty?
When did he grow to be so tall?
Wasn’t it yesterday when they were small?
Sunrise, sunset,
Swiftly flow the days.
Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers,
Blossoming even as we gaze.
Sunrise, sunset,
Swiftly fly the years,
One season following another,
Laden with happiness and tears. Sunrise, Sunset

As my career became increasingly more demanding, life was at a frantic pace then. My mom would always say, “Danise, you need to stop and smell the roses.” I could never understand why anyone would ever want to stop anything, much less stop to smell roses, but she was right. Life was flying by, not just mine but my child’s, my family’s, and my friends’ lives.

I eventually listened to my mom and became very intentional about not rushing through life. I’ve learned to stop, breathe, and enjoy the moments with my daughter, family, friends, and now, of course, Louie. While each stage may be but a wisp, I also believe each stage gets better because of lessons learned and deepening relationships. With each sunrise and sunset, the years swiftly fly by.

One season following another, laden with happiness and tears. I enjoyed every bit of Marisa’s life from the minute she was born, but the stage I am in right now with her is the best stage yet.

The months of May and June are usually when parents watch their children graduate, get married, or prepare for a life transition. It is also the season we reflect on where the time went. As for Louie, I cherish each crazy moment of life with him, from digging through molehills to getting excited to see Evi and Mea, to whining as we walk down the street because his friends, or anyone else for that matter, are out to “see him.” I know it will be all too soon that we’ll say our goodbyes, as heartwrenching as that is to imagine. I know before long, I will be watching my grandchildren receive their diplomas, and walk down the aisle toward marriage. Over the last few years, I’ve said final farewells to many dear friends.

For this reason, I pray you will always enjoy life to the fullest, even as you wonder where time has gone. For me, I am grateful for life and have no doubt that the best is yet to come.

Blessings and LOVE, The Louie Crew

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