Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

The Old Life April 30, 2015

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 8:48 pm

It came completely out of nowhere. I guess I shouldn’t be that surprised since it’s not the first time it’s happened. But today it hit me like a ton of bricks. Sometimes I miss my old life. There, I said it.

The one where my dear forever mom and I took daily walks around the neighborhood. The one where I visited my friends at the dog park frequently. The one where I accompanied mom on something she calls errands for no other reason but to keep her company. The one were I came first. Throwback Saturday

Things have been different since dear baby Carter came home 16 months ago. I can even admit to a having had a bout of doggie depression for a bit immediately following his arrival. Not because I was upset that I finally got to meet my new little person or bitter about the joy he brought to my forever family, but because I knew things would never be the same.

It occurred to me today as I sat by my favorite tree in my backyard paradise, watching my aunt Morgan and grandma play with Carter. He was doing his best to carry on a conversation with them in a way only he can do. He’s started saying “uh oh” pretty repeatedly, though I’m not convinced he has made the connection to what exactly it means. He was giggling as the three of them looked through a book and grandma pointed to colors and he said “pretty” There was a whole lot of joy happening.

Yet I suddenly was plagued with something that didn’t resemble joy at all. Jealousy. From the ground up, it is indeed a very lonely word. I realized as soon as it was happening how silly it all is, too. For me to be jealous of Carter and the joy he brings to the lives of my beloved family simply doesn’t make sense. So instead of sitting there by my tree feeling sorry for myself, I squelched the pang I felt in my heart for the past. I joined the party. And I’m so glad I did.

I think it’s a natural thing to occasionally long for some part of a past life. But then I remember that right along with those car rides and dog park trips and walks around the neighborhood were the lonely days. The days when my people would leave for that place called work and I would spend the day roaming the house and napping mostly. Now there is almost always someone around. And while they (more often than not) are here more for Carter’s sake than mine, it’s been a welcome change always having someone around. I wouldn’t trade that for my old life for anything.

 

I Said To The Darkness

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 6:54 pm

“The light which puts out our eyes is darkness to us,” suggested transcendentalist thinker Henry David Thoreau. “Only that day dawns to which we are awake. There is more day to dawn. The sun is but a morning star.”

Wiley's Wisdom

It happened in an instant, as these things usually do. I saw the sunlight at the end of a very dark tunnel the other day. Literally. After what has arguably been one of the most challenging Wisconsin winters I’ve survived we were hit with some seriously warm rays of sunshine. It was almost 50 degrees and I half expected my people to break out their swim suits.

SnowInstead mom broke out her running shoes (good choice) and I went on a very memorable walk around my dear neighborhood with my mom, my aunt, and Carter. It was my first walk with Carter and (to be honest) he didn’t seem to really notice we were outside. But I sure did.

The wind was blowing and it was not the bone chilling cold wind of late. It was the wind of spring. Sure, there is still about a solid two feet of…

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Part of the Team April 29, 2015

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 7:28 pm

Cilantro Lime Chicken. Black bean taco soup. Chicken Cacciatore. I’ll be honest in admitting I really don’t know what any of these things are, other than that they contain chicken. And beans. But I can tell you this much: they smell delicious.

And, for some reason I didn’t really understand at first, they were all happening at once in the kitchen of my dear forever home tonight. My forever parents danced the kind of dance they only do in the kitchen, as dad chopped onions and mom chopped peppers. They sliced and diced and chopped and pureed. They browned and sauteed and baked.

At one point (only once) dad cynically asked “why are we doing this again?”

To which mom responded “you know why.” Think with the Heart

I didn’t know why, but I liked it. Carter and I joined the dancing as best we could, picking up various scraps that fell to the floor. I’ve trained him to know these things come to me, so he brought me all kinds of delicious morsels, like beans and peppers and browned taco meat. Again I found myself reveling in the perfection of the team we make.

Then I realized that we weren’t really even the full extent of the team. We were the grounds clean up crew. Mom and dad were part of the team, too, cooking up all these delicious things for (as I learned later) after baby no. 2 arrives. Suddenly it made perfect sense why we were all parading around the kitchen creating all sorts of deliciousness.

This is another part of the baby preparation. This is nesting, from the ground up. And today I got to participate. I got to help in my own (albeit small) way. I got to be part of the team.

It doesn’t matter to me what all those fancy recipe names mean. Or what they entail. What matters is today I was part of something. Today I helped get the forever home ready for the baby. Today I was part of the team.

 

So Many Choices

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 7:14 pm

I like my simple life with so few choices.

Wiley's Wisdom

It’s pretty obvious to me. Every morning I get the same thing for breakfast. Every night I get the same thing for dinner. And I’m not going to lie – it’s pretty tasty. Certainly not as delicious as the my favorite dog treats and raw hide bones. And maybe not quite as delectable as the occasional nibble of bacon, salami or peanut butter. But it’s definitely tasty.

So you can imagine my confusion at the frequency at which my forever people debate what to have to eat. In or out? Fancy or simple? Healthy or naughty? It’s all gibberish to me. And don’t get me started on what happens next when mom can’t decide what to wear. Though it is helped (a bit) by the previous questions, it’s never easy. Then there’s the shoes. And the jewelry. So many choices. So Many Choices

Indecisiveness has a hold on us around the Schmidt house…

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To The Limit April 28, 2015

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 7:51 pm

Frustration. Fatigue. Emotional defeat. There is really no sugar coating it. Today was full of all of these things and more in my forever home. Both of my dear forever parents faced seemingly insurmountable hurdles in their respective places called work. These are the things I do not fully understand, yet want to fix. So for me, it was a frustrating, tiring and emotionally challenging day as well.

The limits are no match

But I didn’t cry like mom did. Nor did I hold it in like dad did. I stood by them, as I always do, and offered them my love. Sometimes that is all any of us bystanders can really do. And it matters. It helps. It doesn’t go unnoticed. Nor does it wash away whatever brand of awfulness has shrouded the day.

At least not when its me. I’ve long since developed a certain acceptance of this truth – that there really only is so much I can do to help in such situations. And acceptance does soothe my soul. But not like this soothed theirs.From Up Above

For mom, it happened right after dear baby Carter’s late afternoon nap. After what could be described as an exceptionally trying couple of days at her place called work, she is tired. I could see it on her face, and know it to be true as I witness each and every passing sleepless night first paw. While he is sometimes a bit crabby this time of day, he was all smiles today. She picked him up out of his crib and he voluntarily kissed her on the cheek. Twice.

As she unwrapped him from the sleep blanket he wears, he giggled at her. She tickled his bare legs and he giggled some more. Joy. From the ground up, I watched as these few moments filled my mom’s weary heart with a happiness no money can buy. The rest of the day wasn’t any less trying, but she seemed happier. Lighter. Peaceful, almost, after those precious moments with her little boy.

For dad, it was much more understated. None of us fully understand what happened to disrupt his day so badly, nor would he let his own frustration get in the way of mom’s. But it didn’t matter at bath time, which has developed into a special time he has with Carter each night.

Tonight was no exception, and I watched joy fill dad’s heart as Carter talked to him. It was almost as if he was sharing the happenings of his day, though he was (of course) doing so in a language none of us understand. The information he shared was very real to him, making it very real to dad, who listened and talked back to him as if he understood.

After that, I could tell he too was no longer effected by the trials of the day.

Frustration. Fatigue. Emotional defeat. These were among the things that pushed us all to the limit around here today. But there is no struggle, no mountain to be climbed, that cannot be eased by the simplicity that is joy from the ground up.

 

Along Memory Lane

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 7:26 pm

You and me against the world.

Wiley's Wisdom

It doesn’t happen often. Usually it’s all blue skies and sunshine. Lately there’s even been a lot of playing with a slightly more grown up version of Carter. But every now and then I get a glimpse of the past in my doggie daydreams.

Today I was back on the streets with Tiger (the inappropriately named lab who I came to think of as family). It’s funny how having a little person of my own changes how I reflect on the time I spent helping him care for his puppies. This occurred to me as my daydream trip down memory lane took me to a fateful day. It was like I was there again. Sweet Dreams

It was Tiger and I against the world. Usually we stayed on our part of town but not that day. That day our search for food brought us into a territory better left alone. We were…

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The Power of Wind April 27, 2015

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 7:55 pm

I don’t remember who it was, but I also don’t really think it matters. After a couple weeks of dreary rainy and colder than usual weather, the sun shined brightly on us yesterday. It was a beautiful day in the neighborhood, as families and their dogs walked the streets. There was giggling and happiness and to be honest I felt a little left out.

At least until it happened. Outside is one of my favorite people words, and I think I’ve trained dear baby Carter to feel the same. We were standing there, together, at the door. We were kindred spirits in that moment, both wanting the same result from our actions.

Fortunately the message was received, and outside we went. Mom and dad and Carter and I, outside in the sunshine together. Dad cleaned up the yard. Mom followed an exploratory Carter. Carter followed me. There was play and laughter and a good time was had by all.

Later when we were back inside, there was a different feel to the group than there had been previously. There was a sense of peace and contentment that was somehow more noticeable to me following the fun outside. Running in the wind

“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better,” suggested theoretical physicist Albert Einstein.

I didn’t even have to look very deep. I didn’t have to know whose idea it was (though I’d argue it was the dynamic duo that is Carter and I). The point was the time outside together was good for the soul. Sure, there were a million other things we could have done with that half hour of time. Practical things. Necessary things. Like laundry. And dinner. (Among other things).

But I would argue this, too, was practical. This, too, was necessary. Because it helped clear everyone’s minds and functioned almost as a restart button for the day. It helped us all regroup and focus on what is really important. It cleared our minds. Sometimes that really is more important than crossing off two more things on a to-do list. Sometimes that is just what the doctor ordered.