Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

When Bad Turns Good February 23, 2015

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 9:11 pm
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It was dark and it was cold. And I was worried. I had a bad feeling tonight I couldn’t shake. The action that caused it was nothing out of the ordinary in itself.

Most things about the night were the same as always. Dear baby Carter and I celebrated as we always do when dad got home from that place called work. A delicious smelling dinner was enjoyed together as a family, followed by family time and ultimately Carter’s bedtime routine. What do you think?

My dear forever mom then went to that place called work, as she does on Monday nights, to something called a school board meeting. (I have no idea what a school board meeting is, or why she needs to go to them, but that’s no matter.) Dad took a bit longer than usual to say goodbye to her, telling her to be safe and be warm more than usual almost like he felt what I was feeling too.

An hour went by. And another hour. And another hour. I paced the kitchen. Then the basement. Then the kitchen again. I usually take my later evening nap during the time that passed. Instead, I found my restless heart wouldn’t let me rest.

It was dark and it was cold and my heart hurt thinking about what life could look like without mom. Without the new little person. That is until I realized how terrible that was to even think about so I forced myself back to the pacing.

Then it happened. I heard the car and the door and the key in the door. She was home safely and unharmed. In that moment, I felt joy. And relief. And a little more joy. From the ground up, I realized how silly I’d been to worry the night away.

That is, until I realized even this thing called worry has a silver lining, especially if it is completely unnecessary as mine was tonight. Even a bad feeling turns into a good one when you realize you were wrong to worry. I don’t usually like being wrong, being wrong felt so right.

 

Enjoy the Moment February 22, 2015

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 7:52 pm
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There was the year with the tomato puffs. They were these delectable looking bites of tomato and mozzarella goodness that mom even let me sample. There was the year with the tiny trophies and Hollywood-theme napkins. Then last year, a moment was captured wherein Carter smiled with mom in a picture. (This never happens, even to this day).

It’s Oscar night around here. It might sound silly, but it’s a pretty big deal to my mom. Through the years in my forever home, there has inevitably been much ado about the night akin to the Superbowl of movies. I always look forward to it, not for the glitz and glam of the award show. Not for the snacks (while they are always a treat). I look forward to it for the extra snuggles I get from the visitors who come to watch it all unfold.Happy!!!!

Tonight there are no visitors. The extent of the snack spread is a blueberry cheesecake breakfast bake mom made more for tomorrow morning than for tonight (though of course we did have to try some). It’s dark in the living room and the TV is playing very quietly.

I thought mom would miss the hustle and bustle of it all. And maybe she does just a little bit.

But tonight as the intro music played (albeit faintly out of respect for a sleeping baby Carter) I felt a surprising sense of contentment. It’s just her and I on the couch. And I had all the snuggles I needed.

I knew it when someone on the red carpet said something about enjoying the moment. Tonight wasn’t about tomato puffs or little trophies or goofy pictures. Tonight was about sitting back and enjoying the moment. It’s not the same kind of moment it used to be and may someday be again. But that’s okay.

Because tonight mom and I did something we rarely do anymore. We spent some time together, just the two of us. Her attention is a pretty hot commodity nowadays, so these are the kinds of moments I enjoy. So I wagged and she pet me and we snuggled the night away. Don’t ask me who won anything or who the best dressed lady was. All I know is this was my very favorite Oscar night of all time.

 

 

To Give Is To Receive

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 10:19 am

I’ll never forget the first time I heard a little person laugh.

Wiley's Wisdom

I wasn’t trying to be funny. It was all just part of my standard outside routine. But tonight it may as well been part of a stand-up comedy act. I assumed play stance to the left. And again to the right. To the front. And to the back. And so on, for about 2 minutes.

Do I have something on my face?Meanwhile I heard it from the other side of the screen door. A sound that warms my heart. My people were laughing together (rather hysterically I might add) at my antics. There are few things in the world I love more than that sound. I knew at an early age people laughter would be a favorite sound of mine, in situations not that unlike what occurred tonight.

The first time was the night my birth mom and brothers spent in a homeless shelter. It was a frigid Wisconsin winter night (just like it is tonight)…

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Something out of Nothing February 21, 2015

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 7:13 pm
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It’s happening again. I didn’t think it was possible to be honest with you. Between the blankets and tiny clothes and diapers (so many diapers), I thought my dear forever home was at capacity for all things little people. I think dad thought so too.

But I knew it today as I watched mom patiently piece through various baby things and rearrange and reorganize and clean and rearrange some more. She’s nesting again. She’s caught baby fever and there’s no treatment other than endless trips to baby stores (for nothing in particular) and numerous variations of things in what has become Carter’s old room. Mom and Wiley

My dear baby Carter has transitioned to a much larger room than before, leaving the nursery up for grabs for my second little person. (This happened a few months ago, as it was my understanding my forever parents wanted to make sure he adjusted okay to the new space). The door to his old room has been closed the majority of the time since then, because I think it made mom a little sad to see Carter’s room looking so empty.

Until now. Today was a big day around here. After more than a dozen trips to baby stores and hours of searching and reading reviews online, she has finally made a decision about the bedding. I know it sounds like nothing. But believe me when I tell you, it’s something around here.

I might be the slightest bit biased in saying so as a member of the man’s best friend category, but I can’t help but think perhaps I played a role in the selection of an all things puppy theme once again. I’ve only seen pictures so far, but they look pretty great.

More importantly, mom seems happy. Because it’s happening again. All the decisions about the bedding and the crib set and the layettes and the blankets might not seem like much. But they are something to her. And I know why.

It all stems from something I’ve known in my heart for a while now. The joy in my forever home today confirmed the truth I already knew. Her ability to make something out of nothing is the manifestation of her motherhood. Sure, I know that has nothing to do with finding the perfect sheet set. And deep down so does she.

 

Defeat Meets Victory

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 1:15 pm

I’ve seen into the eyes of evil and prospered.

Wiley's Wisdom

I looked into the eyes of evil today. It wasn’t pretty. There I was, face to face, nose to nose, with my arch nemesis otherwise known as Demon Dog. I could feel his breath on my face as his terrifying bark tore through the air. Worst of all, I could see the look in his eyes. It chilled me to my core. (Or maybe that was the frigid -10 degree wind chill).

What do you think?I’m not sure how it happened actually. One minute I was on my lead (which generally separates us by at least 20 feet) and the next I was not. So I seized the opportunity and ran myself right back to that fence. I don’t know what took over me. It’s like I lost all sense of self control. I shamelessly ignored the voices in my heart that cautioned me to stay. Instead I got close. I looked danger…

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When Tomorrow Comes February 20, 2015

I thought maybe it would change after Carter was born. Or definitely after mom’s work schedule allowed her a little more time at home during the week. Or certainly when it was determined that Carter would have mostly in-home care. But this simple truth remains the same.

I love Fridays. It is (by far) my favorite day of the week. In The Right Direction

A lot has changed in my world since I last made this proclamation. I used to spend most of my weekdays napping alone in various places in the house. I would count down the minutes until mom came home from that place called work over her lunch break and we would walk the neighborhood. The countdown would then resume as she returned to work for the remainder of the afternoon. It was agony, though I never minded the naps.

People are always here now. Around the clock, someone is here, in my forever home. I’m rarely alone anymore, except for when Carter and family venture out into the world. And then, I don’t really mind the alone time since it doesn’t happen that often.

So much has changed in my world and yet this simple truth remains the same. Fridays are my most favorite day of the week. I sense it in my forever family, too, like we all are on the same page emotionally from the moment we wake in the morning. It’s going to be a good day. It’s going to be better than yesterday. Because it’s Friday.

I find this is especially true after a week like we had. Beginning to end, it was rough. More challenging than most.

But today we woke up and it was like we collectively decided it was going to be a better day if, for no other reason than that it is Friday. And why, might you ask, is Friday so special? I can’t speak for my people, but I speak for myself in my appreciation of this day as the start of the longest straight stretch of family time I get in a week.

It’s the start of the weekend, where the family is together (more often than not) and joy is personified in the simplest of ways. It lives in the moments where there is laughter and silliness. It breathes the life back into us in a way no other set of days can. It reinvigorates. It rejuvenates. It restores. Until Monday comes, and again we patiently wait.

 

Rewriting the Story

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 10:15 am

It’s true. Babies write their own “baby” books.

Wiley's Wisdom

Thirteen. That is how many baby- and pregnancy-related books I counted in the Schmidt home today. If you ask me that is thirteen too many. Between the books and the pamphlets from the hospital and the email subscriptions and the web sites, my forever mom has become a battle bot of knowledge on all things baby.

I’m not saying this is a bad thing. Nothing of the sort. I’ve said it before and I will say it again – knowledge is power. But my observations lately inform me that information overload is not such a good thing either. Especially when third trimester hormones are involved. Too much information is making it very easy for her to feel overwhelmed, incapable, frustrated and fatigued. None of these are emotions I like to allow in the Schmidt home for too long if I can help it.

No more reading!But alas, my lack of opposable thumbs…

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Real Big Love February 19, 2015

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 6:43 pm
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I knew it was bad when mom started crying too. Well, I knew it was bad before that, but I hoped something magically would happen to bring the madness to an end. Two hours. That is how long it went on today. These awful, piercing, resonating screams reverberated off the walls of my forever home for two hours. But it felt like a lot more than that to me. Becoming Truth

The worst part for mom was the same as the worst part for me. We didn’t know what was wrong. And, at least in cases like this, when you don’t know what’s wrong it’s pretty hard to fix it no matter how badly you want to. So I watched as mom tried every trick in the book. After going through the usual list (making sure he’s not hungry, wet or hurt), she turned it into high gear. She tried changing up the scenery (twice), turned on a few of his favorite shows and movies and played with his favorite toys. He didn’t want to be held but he didn’t want to not be held either.

The screams just kept on coming. And with them, the tears. The sight of mom crying tears of defeat as he screamed is one that was too much for me to bear. I fled for the bedroom after not very long and prayed for peace.

It didn’t come until about an hour later when dad came to the rescue. He came home from that place called work for just a little bit, and the mere sight of him seemed to make Carter relax. I know mom was deeply disappointed by this. I watched as she snuck into the other room to cry quietly. I knew it was bad when mom started crying too. But she refused to let anyone other than me see her disappointment.

Because we both know she wasn’t the failure she felt like in that moment. And in reality, she found the sincerest form of solace that the crying had finally drawn to an end. As I watched this all unfold today, I learned a lesson about love. Sometimes love looks like this. It isn’t always pretty or like you’d picture. But that doesn’t change the fact that it was real big love. And it might take longer than we like sometimes, but that kind of love has a way of bringing even the most painful screams to silence.

 

Come In From the Cold

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 6:08 pm

Joy is never a limited-time offer.

Wiley's Wisdom

It happens in an instant. And a few minutes later it’s gone. Call me crazy, but I get the zaniest surge of energy from being outside in the cold. It is 11 degrees in Wisconsin right now, which feels downright toasty compared to the 3 degrees it was earlier this morning.

And I love it. It’s like a volt of electricity coursing through my veins. It charges me up in a few short moments so much that I run around the house like a ninny for several minutes upon returning inside. If they made a 5-hour energy drink for dogs, this would be it. But just like those energy drinks, the moment passes. The high is inevitably short-lived. Not to mention there is a very thin line between just enough and way too much time outside in such frigid temperatures.Running Joy

It reminds me a bit of one of those late-night infomercials…

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Fighting Life’s Fires February 18, 2015

It’s never just one thing. I find as an observer of people that it’s usually many things that snowball into one of two categories. Good or bad, I look to find the silver lining in whatever may be happening in the world around me. But there are some days when that is easier said than done.

Because my time as an observer of people has taught me a thing or two about life. From the ground up, bad things happen to good people all the time.

Take today, for example. I don’t think a single person with whom I come into contact had a good day. Mom has been fighting the same darned cold for weeks now, and it’s really starting to bother her. She’s sick of being sick, she says. Dad encountered obstacle after obstacle at work. Dear baby Carter wasn’t himself from another lousy night of sleep the night before. But of that was nothing compared to what happened to my dear aunt Morgan.

It’s been frigidly cold here in my neck of the Wisconsin woods lately. Almost record-breakingly cold. I would go so far as to say 20 degrees has felt like a heat wave in recent weeks. So when the call came into my grandma (who was watching Carter while mom was at that place called work), I guess I wasn’t all that surprised.

My deaFeeling Sleepy On the Jobr aunt Morgan fell on some ice that has been neglected near her apartment complex. She was in pain. She was cold. And she was scared. I could hear it in her voice how scared she was.

Apparently my forever mom got a similar phone call a few minutes after it happened, because within about 20 minutes of the original call to grandma, she was home from that place called work. She came home so grandma could go help Morgan.

The last I heard, the fall may have resulted in some sort of knee damage, though it may be too early to tell how serious. My first (albeit emotional) response to everything that happened in such a short period of time was that there couldn’t possibly be a silver lining to this story. Because it’s never just one thing, and today the snowball went very quickly in a negative direction.

That is until I thought about what happened in that time between the fall and mom’s return home. Sure, Carter was pretty oblivious to what was happening. He just went about playing with all sorts of things he thinks are toys (while simultaneously disregarding his actual toys). But mom and dad and grandma came together to fight the fire together. The moving parts all worked together to address the situation in an effective and timely manner.

I’ve heard of this thing called flashover in a fire. In simple language, it’s the point of no return and it happens quicker than you might think. But that didn’t happen today. Because my people came together and they made it work. They do that a lot, now that I think about it. The fires happen, but they fight them together and everything is okay in the end. If that isn’t a silver lining, I don’t know what is.