Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Search and Rescue January 26, 2015

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 7:43 pm

Sometimes you have to stop looking to find what’s lost.

Wiley's Wisdom

I’ve seen it all before. And the story ends the same every time. But today the moral of that story took me by surprise.

My mom misplaced her glasses this morning. She looked everywhere as I followed her through the house. They weren’t on the nightstand or under the bed (I helped her look). They weren’t in either of the bathrooms. They weren’t in the freezer (stranger things have happened). So she stopped looking. She went about her other business and that’s when it happened. The lost glasses were found on the dresser in the bedroom right where she left them the night before. Right where the belonged.

I see the lightAnd it struck me. She had to stop looking to find what was lost. It got me to thinking about this misconception I think people have about us canines being able to find anything we’ve left someplace. Sure, there are some breeds that…

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Don’t Say Anything At All January 25, 2015

You are as young as you feel. It’s a thought I’ve frequently embraced with my whole heart, often appreciating the idea of keeping all things silly a part of life for as long as possible. It keeps you young, in my opinion, to be able to laugh with others, or even at yourself sometimes.

But this is crossing the line. There’s being in touch with your inner child and there’s this. Being a child for no good reason at all isn’t funny. It isn’t necessary. And it certainly doesn’t keep you young. It’s despicable really, but that doesn’t change that it happens. Being a grown up

It happened yesterday to a family friend of ours. He’s a dad above all else, and he was so incredibly proud of his baby girl (who he fondly still calls Ladybug even though she’s eight people years old these days) taking the stage in a play the last couple of weekends. Last night was the last show, and he couldn’t wait to cheer his little Ladybug on.

His ex-wife offered to buy tickets for everyone going, which (much to his surprise) included her new boyfriend and her dad and his new girlfriend. Our friend was the odd man out. Literally. His ex-wife didn’t even buy him a ticket with the rest of the group. Instead, he sat by himself in a sea of strangers. And he wasn’t invited to the big dinner celebration following the show either.

But the disappointment that filled his heart didn’t keep him from doing what he does best when he finally saw his Ladybug after the show and after the dinner he wasn’t invited to. In spite of the childish behavior that set the stage for the evening, he was a dad to his little girl. He told her he was proud of her and read her bedtime stories before putting her to bed all-too-soon after she arrived at his house.

Unlike his ex-wife, he put his feelings aside to make the most of it for his little girl. Regardless of the circumstances, I think that’s what I’m coming to understand parenthood is all about. And it’s a beautiful thing, being a grown up. Being a parent.

So I guess there are some exceptions to the rule about being as young as you feel. Some really are as young as they feel because they choose to embrace the silliness of their inner child. Others are just children stuck inside the bodies of adults. I don’t know what caused the childish behavior yesterday. But I do know that being the bigger person doesn’t make you any less young at heart. And, for what it’s worth, I’m proud of my friend for doing the right thing. For being the bigger person. For being a dad.

 

 

Building a Mystery

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 7:25 pm

“Joy is not in things. It’s in us.”

Wiley's Wisdom

Mystery solved. Today, amidst a shared moment of joy from the ground up, I figured it out. Which came first – the chicken or the egg?

The epiphany happened during a game I invented to bring laughter into the Schmidt house at any given moment. The best part is my people never see it coming. If you’ve ever seen a dog initiate play with another dog, you’ll be able to picture it. The game begins with me with my butt in the air, tail wagging. Then mom or dad pretend to grab something out of thin air and hide it under a pillow or a blanket or even the kangaroo pocket on what they call a sweatshirt. Joy

And I always take the bait. I chase the invisible prize wherever it goes – under the pillows, through the blankets, inside the sweatshirt, I stop at nothing to claim victory. By the end…

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Smiling Eyes January 24, 2015

I didn’t mean it. I couldn’t help it. I don’t know why it happened. And I’m sorry now.

I did a terrible thing last night. I know I can’t take it back, but I certainly wish I could. It was bath time, which I’ve recently shared has become something of an event around the halls of my forever home. It involves the nakie baby run down the hallway to the bathroom where bath time ensues before bedtime. It’s a whole lot of silliness that breeds joy, from the ground up. Morning love

Until last night. I don’t know what came over me really. One second, we were playing chase and the next minute he had little pink lines running down either side of his body. From me.

It’s important to note that I would never intentionally hurt him. Ever since the day he came home from the hospital all those months ago, I vowed to protect and love him as my own. That’s why I’ve survived the tail yanking, fur pulling and occasional eye gouging that has ensued with him since he figured out he loves me too.

So when I jumped on top of him as he journeyed down the hallway to the bathroom last night, I don’t know what got into me. But that didn’t matter. That doesn’t matter. Because those little pink lines running from his tummy to his calves on either side of his little man body were my fault.

My paws didn’t break skin. And he didn’t cry. But that doesn’t change the fact that I hurt my little person. We all went about the routine as usual, but I thought about it a lot afterward.

It’s terrible that it happened. I wish I could take it back. But sometimes you just can’t. Everyone makes mistakes. Sometimes we say and do things that hurt those we love. Intentions aside, the pain is real.

Fortunately for me so is forgiveness. After the initial disappointment from both of my beloved forever parents wore off, it was like nothing ever happened. And when Carter saw me for the first time when he woke up this morning, his face lit up just like it always does. “Doggie,” he said, with smiling eyes. And all was right in the world.

 

On Being Incorrigable

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 9:28 am

It’s not a thing I’m ashamed of.

Wiley's Wisdom

We all have our reasons. I realized this today as mom called me incorrigible for the millionth time. There I was (minding my own business) conducting my usual after-dinner scavenge all over her clothes and bam. There’s that word again. Incorrigible.

I figured its about time I gain a better understanding of this word, as it differs from most words (like cute, lovable, and adorable) that I’m more accustomed to being called. Boy, was I in for a surprise. Bing defines incorrigible as “impossible or very difficult to correct or reform…unruly and unmanageable.”Who are you calling incorrigable?

At first I wasn’t sure how I felt about this word being on the aforementioned list of adjectives with which I prefer to associate myself. I wouldn’t consider myself unruly or unmanageable. And I have my reasons. I’m not ashamed when my people call me a multipurpose vacuum cleaner/broom combination. It’s true – I do indeed seize…

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No Place I’d Rather Be January 23, 2015

I don’t have this problem very often. While not always the most succinctly, I can usually find a way to describe most things. Yet today I struggle. Because where I come from there are no right words to describe this sound.

It was different than it was in those first few months when dear baby Carter would cry. Though it had a way of tearing at mom’s heart, we all came to understand it was simply his only means of communication then. Over time, he has developed a myriad of other ways to tell us all what’s going on in that curious little mind of his. So now when the crying happens, we know it’s really something bad. Wiles and Carter

Especially when it’s more than your ordinary run-of-the-mill sleepy or hungry cry that does occasionally still happen. This was in a realm all its own. It was piercing. His little face was turning purple. And nothing (and I mean nothing) seemed to help. Except being in the arms of my dear forever mom, but even then the screaming continued.

Until it happened. Mom thought to cue up a familiar song on the music player and when those thoughtful notes entered the room I could almost see Carter’s body relax. He was still pretty upset about who knows what (mom thinks it was gas or something), but the crying was noticeably mitigated when the music started.

“Someday I wish I upon a star, wake up where the clouds are far behind me…where trouble melts like lemon drops high above the chimney top that’s where you’ll find me,” sings Hawaiian musician Isreal Kamakawiwo’Ole in a way only he could. “Somewhere over the rainbow, bluebirds fly. And the dreams that you dare to…really do come true.”

It’s our song, mom whispered into Carter’s ear as he snuggled his bright red, tear-soaked face into her chest. And I know it’s going to sound crazy, but I knew in that moment something it is hard to put into words. A mother’s love. From the ground up, it’s about as unconditional as it gets.

I knew it when the crying first started. I knew it even as the crying ramped back up a bit as mom fiddled with the gadget to get the song to play again. I knew it when it quieted down. And when he snuggled his mommy. There is no place either of them would rather be.

 

Great Expectations

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 3:22 pm

Daddy nesting is a thing too.

Wiley's Wisdom

I’m not sure what I expected. We are a little more than seven months into this journey of life change (otherwise known as pregnancy) and I’ve noticed some patterns.

Feeling the LoveAlmost every time mom comes home from wherever those errand places are, she has some baby things. Diapers or wipes or onesies or sleepers. It’s like an addiction. I hear it’s called nesting and it’s normal. Meanwhile I find myself wondering whether mom realizes she will indeed still be able to leave the house after the baby is born. It’s not like the birth of my little person is the baby apocalypse.

Then there is dad. He is nesting in his own unique way. Projects. It’s become a weekly thing around here. One after the next after the next. It started with the wood trim, which he insisted would look better white. So he made it happen. Then came the kitchen…

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News To Me January 22, 2015

I’ve heard it more than once from family and friends. It’s a joke they say sometimes when they find something out they already knew. I think it’s a reference to a television show or something they all like, but I’m not sure exactly. What I do know is I like the idea behind the words, as a joke or otherwise.

“That is brand new information,” they say. Most recently it happened when my forever mom shared the news of her pregnancy with some friends in cyberspace and Aunt Morgan said the words. She’s obviously known for a while that she was going to be an Aunt again, so it was a funny thing for her to say (at least for those of us in the know with the inside joke). Surfing the world wide web

It came to mind for me today while Grams was over to watch dear baby Carter. She hasn’t spent quite as much time with him lately since mom was working from home a little more than usual, and I can tell she missed him dearly. (I think she even missed me, but that’s beside the point). When mom left to go to that place called work, serious playtime ensued. There was lots of reading Carter’s favorite book and reviving some of the toys he’s been ignoring lately. There was a general sense of silliness in the room, as Carter engaged in a number of his usual antics (like a baby version of downward facing dog where he peaks at you upside down through his legs). But they really were new to Grams. And she loved every minute of all thing new to her, even if they weren’t necessarily new to him.

As a creature of habit, new things aren’t always my favorite. But as I watched the joy in the room today as Carter went about his usual silliness, I realized the wonder and merriment all things new can obtain. I used to worry about how much is new to Carter each and every day. He knows nothing of heartbreak or war or poverty or crime right now. All he knows is love and joy and laughter. But I think I’ve changed my mind.

Because seeing things like what I saw today gives me peace in knowing those are the lenses through which he views all things new in his world. All kidding aside, there is nothing wrong with that.

 

In God’s Hands

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 8:04 pm

It’s a pretty beautiful idea.

Wiley's Wisdom

It’s normal for leaves to fall from the sky in my part of the world this time of year. Especially in my backyard paradise, where we have a few exceptionally large trees. As a result, a blanket of gold and orange currently coats the grass (or so my people tell me – it’s kind of tough for me to decipher these colors). But the leaves weren’t the only thing to fall from the sky today.

I was ruffling around in my backyard (aka leaf blanket) this morning when I got a surprise visit from two of my favorite little people and their parents. Apparently it wasn’t a surprise to my people, but they hadn’t said anything about Sophie and Sam coming by to spend the day with us. I suppose this may have been a proactive decision, as the mention of their names may have sent me into an excited panic…

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The Nakie Baby Run January 21, 2015

It could be the belly that is somehow tiny and bulbous simultaneously. Or the bony knees that seem to bounce higher in the air than usual. Maybe it’s the sight of both sets of baby cheeks out there in the open.

Whatever the reason, there is a new thing in my forever home that is guaranteed to be an emotional game changer. And it’s been happening more and more frequently as dear baby Carter’s mobility evolves. The nakie baby run. From the ground up, few things evoke a response like the nakie baby run.Recylce This

It happened today when mom attempted a sleuth-like diaper change in an out-of-the-ordinary location in the house. I’m not sure what she was thinking since the child quite literally never stops moving. (The sitting down or crawling days are long gone now. These days, it’s more of a constant jog throughout the house.) She was also changing his water-soaked clothes, and I would swear he had his escape route planned from the minute that onesie got unsnapped. The second the diaper was off, he combat rolled out of the way and off he went. Belly. Knees. Cheeks. Laughter. So much laughter, from everyone involved.Carter

I (obviously) got involved, immediately assuming my play stance with him. We did a little jig, he and I, both in our birthday suits. More laughter.

Finally, as mom composed herself enough to wipe the (laughter-related) tears from her eyes, she was able to wrangle him in for long enough to diaper and dress him some clean clothes.

And, just like that, the moment passed. But as I thought about it, and all the joy that such silliness can bring, I realized maybe it’s all of it. The belly and the knees and the cheeks. It’s all a part of what seems to bring out the inner child (or in my case, puppy) in all of us. I don’t care what anybody says about being grown up or mature. Sometimes that inner child needs to get out of those clothes and dance around nakie with one arm waving free. Figuratively speaking, of course.