I sat with a book to my nose waiting for my dog to arrive from California. My ex’s newly found bachelorhood could not accommodate the attention our Jack Russell required, and my new apartment did not allow pets. I was there to deliver her to her new forever human … the woman who would’ve been my mother-in-law.

You were waiting for your wife and who I assume was your mother-in-law. We smiled at each other, and I couldn’t help but adore your two daughters playing at your feet.

While I sat waiting for my pup, I wondered to myself if my life would ever be as complete as yours seemed. I could tell how proud you were of your girls by the way you smiled and played with them. It was distracting, and I know you caught me spying.

When your family reunited, you turned to smile and nod as you were leaving. That small gesture said so much …

Don’t just hope … decide.

You had no way of knowing how my heart would sink when I retrieved my dog from the baggage claim office. How excited she was to see me again, the way dogs do no matter how familiar you are or how long it’s been. Man’s best friend.

You didn’t know that I would drive her to her new home, tearfully apologize to my ex’s mother for breaking his heart, and watch her care for his oldest brother whose health was deteriorating from a severe seizure disorder.

I was reminded that by accepting his ring, I signed on to care for his brother when his mother passes. I know … it’s a bit maudlin, but I still care for these people like family.

It’s been four years now, and that moment stays with me. I’m in a happier place. I think back to your family walking out of the airport, so complete and in love. I think back to your gesture and how you seemed to know that I was at a crossroad.

They say the grass is always greener on the other side and that you never really know what happens in another’s life, but your kindness gave me hope.

And for that, I thank you.