We expect the perfect night, or the perfect moment, and our dreams end up shattered into pieces.

Finally, there was an evening meant for baseball, running around the yard — and best of all — cooking out.

So, we dragged the huge turkey fryer into the front yard (yes, friends, we are those people) filled it with a gallon or more of canola oil and grabbed hot dogs.

Homemade corndogs. It was a recipe we’ve wanted to try for a long time. And while we were frying up big globs of batter on a stick, why not grab some pancake mix and try to make some funnel cakes too?

As we sat there on our own little patch of the earth watching canola oil crackle in the sun, I wondered how much closer we could get to the American dream. Shawn’s arm rested on my back as the boys threw a ball around the yard with neighborhood friends.

Everything just seemed so right with the world.

Walkers said hello as they passed by, and we even noticed that the yard would soon need mowed. Of course, we are only happy about that until our lawn mower gets exhausted and runs out of gas halfway through the side yard.

(And by our lawn mower, I mean Connor.)

Birds populated the trees, and in the driveway appeared a friendly neighborhood squirrel. Coming out from underneath the car, he got within a few feet of the boys and just stood there watching them play.

Once the kids noticed him, I waited for him to hightail into a tree, but he didn’t. The closer the kids got, the more interested it seemed. Just like a Disney movie.

As our friend came a little closer, and the boys stuck their hands out, I thought it would scurry away, but it didn’t. And maybe I am imagining this part, but I swear its little nose stuck out ready to greet (or bite) them.

And that’s when it happened. Utter chaos. My hands flew to my mouth and the kids screamed in horror as our beagle jumped out from the bushes.

“Drop it, Wilma!”

We chased her around the yard, but our sweet friend hung lifeless from her mouth. Tears streamed down my face while I loudly vowed to Wilma that she would never sleep in my bed again. And across the yard, Shawn protectively shielded the corndogs.

Just like that — our Disney moment was shattered, and it became a horror story etched in our minds forever. Our hearts were heavy, while we scarfed down our corndogs and funnel cakes in remembrance of a life gone too soon.

Really though, I shouldn’t have been surprised.

One, because Wilma is basically Elmer Fudd with a snout. Two, because that’s how life works. Perfect moments are snatched up by reality and scattered all over the yard.

And reality doesn’t always strike in the form of dead squirrels. Sometimes it’s our life expectations that die.

We expect the perfect night, or the perfect moment, and our dreams end up shattered into pieces. From another negative pregnancy test to a scary diagnosis, from job loss to unanticipated accidents — sometimes life throws us the unexpected.

We can plan. We can dream. And those are an important part of life, because they harvest hope in every season. But if the wind blows, we either have to fight against it or sway with it — depending on the desired course.

It’s all about understanding the nature of life, and that even the sweetest things must come to an end. As heartbreaking as it might be, this fragility is what keeps us appreciative.

Would we really understand how precious life is if weren’t afraid of losing it? Or would any of our blessings mean anything if we didn’t meet with struggle?

And is there really any kind of Disney movie without an evil villain?

Later that night, as I settled into bed, Wilma walked into the room and stared at me from the floor. She looked sorry. I’m in no way against hunting, I just don’t really want to watch it happen — especially at dinner.

But Wilma is a beagle hound, so it’s what she was born to do. It’s the circle of life.

“C’mon on girl. Get in bed.” I patted her normal spot. “Just don’t lick me.”