Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

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.

 

When It Rains March 17, 2014

It started at 1:23 a.m. That is when baby Carter started crying (all right, more like screaming), almost an hour an a half before he usually wakes up hungry this morning. So mom and dad got up, fed him, and went back to bed. Mom wasn’t sleeping very well to begin with, so I snuggled my best. I’m not sure it mattered.

Then at 5:36 a.m. the phone calls and text messages started. My dear grandma, who was all set to babysit baby Carter on mom’s first day back to work, couldn’t come. She broke a tooth eating breakfast of all things, and needed to get in to see a dentist as soon as possible. Thank goodness for my aunt Morgan, who swooped in to save the day.

Though I’m not entirely sure she saved much other than Carter and I, since it was definitely one of those days for mom. The kind that never ends even though you wish you could just go to bed and have it be tomorrow. The polar opposite of the kind of days you savor. The kind that when it rains it pours. Because when she got back to work, she was greeted by far more than she expected. Far more than she would be capable of catching up on in a day (let alone a month or two). For some, this would be an easy enough mountain to climb. Slow and steady. For mom, who cares so very deeply for doing the right thing even if it hurts, it was like a punch to the stomach.

I know as well as anyone she hates to let people down, and that is exactly what she felt like from the moment she got to back to work. She was letting Carter (and me) down because she left. She was letting her clients down because she couldn’t take care of them all at once. Ultimately, she let herself down because of letting all of this get to her.

Meanwhile, I was home monitoring the Carter situation and he was not happy. It started again yesterday – after days (or maybe weeks?) of fairly decent behavior, he started crying inexplicably. All the time. Morgan rocked him and sang to him and fed him and changed him and dressed him and nothing seemed to work. If I didn’t know better, I would say he and mom are on some sort of level emotional playing field. The way she has been crying the last couple of days mirrors his cries in a way I can’t think is a coincidence.

But it ended at 9:08 p.m. Baby Carter finally fell asleep. And mom and dad breathed a collective sigh of relief. Because let’s be honest. Sometimes there are days like this. Days with very little (if any) silver lining. Days that just plain run us down. When it rains it pours. But at least I know one thing for sure. That rainbow always follows the storm.