Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Silly Little Games December 1, 2014

I feel like I should be a little hurt. Something has been happening pretty frequently around here lately, and I can’t say I particularly appreciate the implications. Mostly because it is complete and utter nonsense. I would never in a million years purposely hurt my dear little Carter. Yet I am fairly convinced my beloved forever people think I would.

There’s this game we play together that makes mom and dad uncharacteristically anxious about Carter’s physical proximity to me. I think it’s funny. Carter thinks it’s funny. My people? Not so much.Best Buddies

It all started when Carter began assimilating what toys are mine and what toys are his. He’s even taken to handing (or sometimes throwing) me toys he knows are mine. We have developed an unspoken truce between us to respect each other’s things. In general, I stay away from all of his noisy, lighted button-y things and he stays away from Mrs. Prickles. In general.

That is, with the exception of our game. He will give me a toy, I will play with it, I make playful noises as he tries to get it back, and he laughs. It’s all totally harmless. Except that I guess my noises sound intimidating to my people, which inevitably brings our fun to a sudden and dramatic halt.

Truth be told, I love that I have found another way to make Carter giggle. His laughter makes my people happy, which in turn brings me the sincerest kind of joy. And in my own little way, I feel like this game allows us to “talk” to each other. But my people don’t like it and today I stopped to contemplate why.

Mostly I feel like I should be a little hurt. Because I’m a believer in the words of Scottish poet George MacDonald, who once said “to be trusted is a greater compliment than being loved.” And, in most ways, I know without a doubt the trust they have in their hearts for me.

So I tried to put myself in their shoes. To see where they’re coming from. And, as much as I trust them with all of my heart, I realized exactly why they feel the way they do. Because that’s how I feel about them. If anything, or anyone, made a sound (or action) like I do when Carter and I are playing our game, I would probably attack them. I love my people too much to ask questions. That’s how they feel for Carter.

I suppose I could let myself feel hurt over this. Instead, I feel blessed. Because just as I know they feel that way about Carter, I believe they feel that way about me. Between that, and knowing I never would dream of hurting anyone in my forever family, I’d say I’m in pretty good shape.


A Dream Come True November 7, 2014

I’ve never been good at math. Reading? Sure? Writing? Well, I’d like to think so at least. But math? I’m rubbish at anything involving numbers. So when I try to figure out the people vs. doggie time vortex, it gives me a headache. I know there is something like one people year being equal to about seven dog years, but trying to figure out how that breaks down to minutes, hours or days seems impossible to me.

None of that mattered today. Time stood still. It could have happened in moments or hours, I can’t be sure. And frankly, it didn’t matter. Because I had one of the best dreams I can recall, as many are all-too-frequently forgotten the moment I awake. In itself it was a dream come true. Literally. Wiles and Carter

I could speak in my dream, but only to one person. Dear baby Carter, at his tender age of 10 months old, could understand me. Just as I’ve longed for him to ever since that special moment all those months ago when I knew my beloved forever mom was pregnant. I don’t know why and I don’t know how, but somehow he could understand what I was telling him (though he couldn’t talk back).

It was an interesting study in time, as I don’t know how long it really lasted or how long I had within the dream to get my message across. So I started with the first and one of the most important thing I could think of.

Cherish time, I told him. I know it seems like it will never end right now, but it will. Time with people you love will draw to a close one day. Time to be adventurous will one day give way to time to be practical. Make a difference while you can. Because in the end, it’s not money or technology or houses that are worth the most. It’s time. From the ground up, time is one of the most valuable things you will ever have. Don’t waste a second of it.

He pet my ear like he understood, I closed my eyes to enjoy the moment, and it was gone.

I was awake, right where I had last been on the chair with mom and Carter. Mom was falling asleep holding a very snuggly Carter (which is a rare occurrence around here now that he’s a grown-up 10-month-old). I could practically feel my heart swelling with love in that moment. Not just because it was a special something between mother and son, but because it’s like mom and Carter somehow got my message.

I know it’s not possible as well as I know and admit I can’t do math to save my life. But that doesn’t change the simple fact that today literally contained a dream come true.


Only Time October 13, 2014

There is no time like the present. This I’ve always known to be true. Today is a gift, in which I chose to be present for not just myself but for those around me. But sometimes when I watch my forever people, I can’t help but wonder what would happen if there would be an extra hour in the day. Dreaming a little dream

As it is, it sometimes makes my tail spin watching them hustle around the house throughout the day, balancing work and family time with social time with cooking and cleaning and laundry and anything else life throws at them in those precious 24 hours. Then there’s dear baby Carter, who also keeps me guessing in each passing moment.

Tonight as mom and dad spent a few precious moments together playing with Carter before mom went to that place called work, I know how I would chose to spend that extra hour if I had it. I would choose to spend it like that, as we were in that 15 minutes. I was scurrying around, Carter was giggling, and mom and dad were happy.

This is not to say they’re not happy with their other 24 hours of today. I know that is certainly not the case. But in those moments, they were truly and genuinely happy in the contagious joy kind of way. That is how I would spend an extra hour of time if I had it.

I think that’s selfish of me, though. Because if we had that extra hour we’d want another. And another. And another. So, as special as that time would be, I think I learned a lesson from the joy today similar to the words of English philosopher William Penn who said “time is what we want most, but what we use worst.”

There is no time like the present. But ultimately, time itself is just a thing. It is how we live in that time that matters. So as nice as it would be to have another hour in every day, I don’t think it’s about having more time. It’s about making the most of the time we have.


Stranger Danger October 5, 2014

I’ve never been sure whether to take it as a compliment or a criticism. I’ve heard mom say it a bunch when she’s trying to wrangle me in at the end of a visit to the dog park. I’ve heard her say it when we’re walking around the neighborhood. And, I’m not too proud to say, I’ve heard her say it when I’ve run away. I’m a fickle dog. I’d go home with anyone.

Truth be told, I’ve always thought she was right. Call it a self-fulfilling prophecy, but I fear it has become one of those things that may or may not have been true that I have come to believe as truth because of how many times I’ve heard it.

That all changed today. I was on the floor with dear baby Carter. We were playing around with his big huge box my beloved people recently crafted into a discover fort. There are circles and triangles and squares and he loves it so much when he sees me through one of the “windows” even though I think he’s pretty silly since I’ve obviously been there all along. Deep thinking Wiles

But today as I enjoyed play time with him, I thought about him meeting strangers. And I didn’t like it. I didn’t like the idea of him going home with another doggie at the dog park. I didn’t like the thought of him living in some other forever home in my neighborhood. And I certainly don’t like thinking about what would happen to him (let alone my people) if he ever ran away.

So I guess you could say the tables have turned. I used to think maybe I could go home with anyone, just like mom always said. I never was sure whether to think of it as a compliment or a criticism. And I certainly love many, just as I always say I do. But while I may have thought all of these things were possible from myself, I learned an important lesson from Carter today. I find that’s been happening lately. Whether I like it or not, this little person who screeches and pulls my fur and says “doggie” now has started teaching me things. Who would have thought.

I learned to more carefully live the philosophy I’ve proclaimed as mine. Love many, trust few, always paddle your own canoe. Unless it’s with my forever family. I’d paddle them to wherever they want to go. Because there are things that make us uniquely us. There is a language that is uniquely ours. And I wouldn’t trade that for anything.



As The Sun Rises September 17, 2014

Sometimes it’s incredibly subtle. Other times it hits me in the face. Literally. I speak, of course, of dear baby Carter and all the things that change with him on a daily basis. I frequently hear mom repeat the same response when people ask her how he’s doing. There is something new every day, she says. Treasure Seeker

Recently much of the change has been physical. He’s moving. A lot. He’s crawling all over the place and getting into all kinds of things he shouldn’t. Mom says she doesn’t think it will be long before he’s walking. And he is strong. You wouldn’t guess it from looking at his 20-pound frame, but take it from me – there is a whole lot of gusto in those tiny little guns of his.

But something happened tonight that struck me. It might have been a fluke. Like one of those things you can convince yourself of even if it might not actually have been the case. But I have a pretty keen sense of hearing and tonight I think Carter said the two most important first words he could ever say. Both have been making regular appearances in his daily babble fest of syllables right along with baabaabaa. Today there was something different though, like he was saying things on purpose.

“Mamamama,” he said when mom left the room to warm up his bedtime bottle. And, less then 15 minutes later, “dada” came out of his mouth as dad gave him his nightly bath.

As I said, it is possible this is all wishful thinking and just happened by coincidence. Because sometimes it is incredibly subtle. I’m pretty sure mom wouldn’t have even thought anything of it had dad not pointed it out. And then at bath time, well, it seems as though everything pieced together just as it should in that moment.

I know I’ve had my qualms about having a strong, mobile, babbler of a little person in my forever home. But he’s managed to do something pretty spectacular to my way of thinking. Change is not a favorite thing of mine, but he has changed how I perceive the unknown. As he grows, he changes each day. And as he changes, I realize he has changed me. I still love routine, but there is something about knowing tomorrow will bring something new again brings even more joy to each new day. As the sun rises, there will be change. And that’s a fabulous thing.


We Have Lived July 30, 2014

It actually sounds a bit crazy to think about these days. Yet it doesn’t change the truth. The majority of the first several weeks of dear baby Carter’s life, it was ridiculously cold around here. I know such things are a matter of perspective, but today I reflected back 190 days ago In The Grassand alas, it was two degrees that day.

The thing is, after that frigid a winter (with abnormally regular temperatures in the negative 5 to 10 degree range) people around here now have something new to complain about. A cold summer. So far, we’ve only had a few uncomfortably hot days and my all intent and purpose summer as we know it is indeed drawing to a close already. It seems too soon. It seems like we deserve more after the absolute north pole-esque winter we had.

Instead we have this, a fairly mild summer. And while it’s easy to be pretty upset about that, I can’t help but think back to 190 days ago when it was freezing cold and baby Carter cried. All. The. Time. It ironically even came to mind today what those days were like, three weeks after Carter was born. When no one slept more than an hour at a time. Stress and all other emotions were running at full steam ahead. And neither of my people would have changed a single thing about it.

Joy. It doesn’t sound like it to most people, but that is what those first few weeks were for my forever people. It’s just taken us all a bit to realize it since we were in such an over-tired, exhausted haze of sleep depravity at the time. Now that Carter has been sleeping through the night for some time, I am reminded of those harder (yet somehow joyful) times all those months ago. He hasn’t been sleeping quite as well, do doubt do to something mom keeps calling teething. So I stand by and hope (for everyone’s sake) that sleep will still resume to its previously happy normalcy.

In the meantime, I know how far things have come since all of those months ago. January 21, 2014 it was literally two degrees outside. Mom would never have thought to let me outside to do anything other than relieve myself and come back in (for fear I may have formed into a doggie icicle of some sort I suppose). And I realized today that my dream that day, that frigidly freezing day, has indeed come to fruition on multiple occasions. I am so blessed to say I had hoped and prayed all of those months ago that dear baby Carter and I would have a chance to play together in the grass.

We have, and in doing so, I would say we have lived.


So Happy Together June 2, 2014

It is honestly probably one of the last words I would have ever thought would be used to describe me. But apparently it’s true. I’ve heard more than one person say it and it’s time to man (er, dog?) up and accept the truth. I’ve been a little withdrawn lately.

Ever since my forever people brought my little person home, things have been different. I’ve spoken before about how I’m not really jealous of dear baby Carter. I love him more than words can say. But lately he’s been causing me new kinds of pain I would prefer to avoid if at all possible. Carter and I

In recent days he has discovered a new sound his voice can make, for example. It’s an incredibly high-pitched screeching sound, similar to a chirping bird. Except once he starts making it, the sound can go on for an hour at a time. Also, now that he’s discovered how to reach for things he has been grabbing my fur. Hard. Every time he gets a good hold, he yanks a good deal of fur out with it. And it hurts.

But I heard something today that made my heart pause a second. It was on the moving picture window on a television show called “Lost,” which I understand was quite a phenomenon in pop culture a few years ago. A man named Jack, who appeared to be some sort of leader, said it. “If we don’t learn to live together, we will die alone.”

At first I was a bit puzzled by the thought. It sounded so negative through the eyes of your resident doggie optimist. But the more I thought about it, the silver lining became apparent. And then it happened.

The screeching and grabbing happened simultaneously with one of his biggest smiles yet. In that moment, I was reminded what this is all about. Joy. From the ground up, that is what I do get from my time together with dear baby Carter. For that I can learn to live with the screeches and the clumps of fur I’m starting to lose on a daily basis.


Little Hands and Feet May 5, 2014

In actuality, they’re not really that little. At least as far as averages may be concerned. But my dear little person and his little hands and feet amaze me every day. While I do still believe the eyes are the gateway to the soul, lately I’ve noticed hands and feet do their own kind of talking.

I speak, of course, of dear baby Carter, whose lust for life has reached a very interesting place of late. He’s found his feet. And, as it turns out, they are for so much more than standing. Who needs rattles when you have feet to play with? This child is so enamored with his ten little toes you would think each contained a million dollars.Ah. Feet.

Not only that, but he has taken to staring at things with a curious look on his face. Like paper. Or his bottle. Or even me. It’s almost like he’s piecing all sorts of puzzles together in his head every moment of every day. It doesn’t matter how big or small or insignificant the discovery may seem – to him it’s a whole new world filled with joy and adventure.

It’s a thought process I decided today I could learn something pretty important from. While I know ignorance does not always bliss, there is something to be said for finding renewed life in such seemingly insignificant things. Everything is new and exciting. Even his not-so-little hands and feet.

“All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered,” suggested Italian physicist and philosopher Galileo Galilei, “the point is to discover them.” I found myself feeling oddly envious of dear little Carter’s curiosity today, until I reminded myself of all we have to discover together and all the joy these discoveries will bring. It’s like a fresh new perspective on life. And I can’t wait.



You Just Wait March 12, 2014

Apparently it’s one of those things parents say to each other. Like the never ending piece of advice stuck on repeat in the CD player. And while I’m usually all for taking in and putting to practice any piece of advice or wisdom, this has (of late) been one of my least favorite tracks. You just wait.

When my forever mom was up all night because baby Carter was beat boxing on her ribs, people told her. You just wait. After he was born and he was sleeping in teeny tiny increments of time, people told her. You just wait. Even now, when he’s starting to interact with the world in both smiles and experimental cries, people tell her. You just wait. Cuddles

And I will tell you. Each and every time someone says this, I watch as she visibly tenses up and I know better than anyone else what she’s thinking. YOU just wait. Because here’s the thing about unsolicited advice and wisdom. It’s great when it means something positive. And it’s even all right when it means something negative, as long as it’s delivered in the right way. But even when you’re a boy dog who will never in a million years understand the mystery of birth, I can hear it.

There is something grating about hearing someone imply things will get worse before they will get better. It doesn’t matter if its family life, work life, personal life, or whatever sort of life path you’re on – it just plain sucks to hear even the slightest implication of things being worse on the horizon.

That is, until you live it. I know it grated on my mom’s nerves when people told her to “just wait” for what sleep would be like after the baby was born. I know it the same as I know things will only be getting more complicated from here as Carter figures out his emotions. Happy and sad. Love and hate. Chaos and peace. You just wait.

It’s a track that has been stuck on repeat far too long around here. And yet I know its one we need to hear. Not necessarily as its intended from its various unsolicited advisors. Because tone has no place in true wisdom. Instead I would rather cherish the good things that come to those who “just wait.” I cherish the first full night’s sleep my people have had in a while. And these first smiles that are happening on purpose. And that look of recognition when mom and dad talk and he seems calmed by their voices.

As one who has just waited, I can definitely confirm a certain and undeniable truth. It’s always worth the wait.


When We’re Having Fun March 7, 2014

I never knew why, but I’ve always had a respect for it. Which is funny, since the older I get, the more elusive it seems to get. Time. From the ground up, it has a way of standing still while at the same time flying by at the speed of light.

That is how the last nine weeks have felt for me. While I know Christmas is long behind us, it feels like yesterday we enjoyed good tidings of great joy that will be for all the people. It’s as if we just put the Christmas tree up and danced around to Christmas carols. It’s as if mom just told dad she was going into labor that fateful night. And then Carter was home and life changed forever.

But I realized today time has indeed passed. It hit me like the warmth of the spring air that we were teased with in Wisconsin today. After what has arguably been the most unbearable winter in recent history, it was almost 50 degrees outside. As I enjoyed the warm air blowing through my fur, I was reminded that spring is almost here. Time is moving forward even though it feels like it’s standing still.

This was confirmed tonight when my dear two-legged friend Dorian told my dear little person Carter to stop growing. “You’re getting way too big,” she said to him. “You need to stop that. Right now.” I know she jests, and yet there is an emotional seriousness to what she is saying that I’ve heard echoed all to often in similar words by mom.

They look forward to baby Carter growing up, and yet wish he could stay the same forever. Time. From the ground up, it stands still, and yet keeps moving. This is one of many reason why I respect it so much. Not a moment goes by that I don’t value the present of the present.

So today I start a new chapter of joy, from the ground up. And I do so with a thousand words. Pictures encapsulate the paradox of time standing still while it simultaneously flies by. So it is with pictures I shall speak.

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