Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

A Special Kind of Silver Lining March 7, 2015

Eight straight hours. That is how long dear baby Carter was awake today. It might not sound like much to the average person, but around here (to our beloved 14-month-old) it was an eternity. Because while there was some playtime and laughter, there was mostly crying and tears. Lots of tears.

It was the first time since he was little that my forever dad was around for a full day of it. More often than not, people ask “is he always like this?” when they encounter Carter’s smiley charming self. Today, it was his complete emotional breakdown that had dad asking mom “is he always like this?” Challenge

The answer is obviously no. Sure, he has his good days and bad days. We all do. But today was definitely want of the really bad no good terribly awful days that unfortunately do happen every once in a while.

I watched as my dear people went through all the usual emotional phases. Helplessness prevailed throughout, especially for dad, who is far less used to coping with an hour (or two) of crying at a time than mom and I. From my best guess, it was a battle between Carter and teething pain, and poor Carter was losing by a landslide.

Then it happened. After eight straight hours of primarily emotional turmoil (for all of us, not just Carter), he fell asleep. I watched as his swollen eyes closed just above what had developed throughout the day into a painfully crimson nose. He was on dad’s shoulder when it happened.

It was the first time since he was little that dad held him like that. I’d say seven or eight months have gone by since it last happened. But that is where he wanted to be, and none of us questioned it. So there we were, the four of us, in the soft glow of the afternoon sunlight, silent and watching as Carter finally gave in to the necessity of sleep.

Somehow everything that had happened in the last eight hours seemed inconsequential.

It took time. And lots of tears. And it’s nothing I would wish to happen to anyone again any time soon. But in its own unique way, it forced us all to be still. And be together. That is its own kind of special silver lining in my book.

 

 

 

Like Mommy’s Perfume December 3, 2014

I thought it was just a dog thing. I don’t think it’s a secret that us canines do an awful lot of investigating with our noses. We rely on scent to figure out a lot of things people rely on sight for, and our noses are also capable of some pretty powerful things. Like when I knew something was up with mom before she even did when she first was pregnant with dear baby Carter. I have my nose to thank for that.

So the other day when it happened, it definitely caught my attention. While Carter is, for the most part, an angel, he too has his bad days. Days that come as a direct challenge for mom as she spends time trying to soothe him, feed him, get him to nap, etc.

It’s happened a little more frequently lately since recent estimates put his total teeth count up by at least four or five in the next few days. After a particularly taxing emotional day for mom and I (it’s never easy on either of us when there’s a lot of crying involved), dad was consoling an unusually crabby and irritable version of Carter when it happened.

Carter snuggled into dad in the special cuddly way he’s been doing more and more lately and I watched as dad sweetly smelled his little head as he snuggled him close. “Your head smells like mommy’s perfume,” he said, with an unspoken fondness for everything that meant.

It makes sense, of course, that his head would smell like my dear forever mom, since she spent the majority of the day comforting him in any and every way she knew how. So I watched her after she overheard dad say that. I saw the expression on her face as she processed the words. And it might be that she was tired from the long day she had, but I watched as a silent tear fell down her cheek.Buddies

I knew in that moment exactly what she was feeling. Not only because I sometimes think I know her better than I know myself, but because I’ve come to know some new things about my mom since Carter’s been around. That silent little tear was not a tear of sadness. Or exhaustion. Or frustration. It was a tear of joy.

Those simple words were a reminder that everything she did that day was not in vain. Though the crying carried on, she did everything she could to make it stop. And, in reality, she wouldn’t trade the time holding him to calm him down for the world. The time he cried into her chest was special in its own way, I know, because there will be a day when she longs to comfort him and won’t be able to. He will be all grown up and perhaps have children of his own to look after at that point.

That’s why even the most challenging days are worth living. It may take a little sniffing out, but there is always, always, a silver lining.