Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Tiny Little Lines September 16, 2014

I will never forget the day mom and dad found out they were going to have a little person. My forever mom had a suspicion days before it was confirmed, which I could somehow sense. I know there are naysayers when it comes to a dog’s sense of smell, but I completely disagree with every single one of them. I knew before mom did that she was pregnant.Sleep Snuggles

That doesn’t change the magic of that moment for me though. The moment when she woke dad up one chilly spring morning and flung the stick with the tiny little lines on it in his face. “We’re pregnant!” she said. Though somewhat surprised by everything the moment had to offer, dad shared in her enthusiasm after he had appropriate time to digest the information. They were pregnant. They were having a little person. They were going to be parents.

It’s hard to believe that day is almost a year and a half ago already. Dear baby Carter will soon be nine months old (going on three-years-old depending on who you ask). Time flies, but I’ve found there is something that doesn’t. Tiny little lines. From the ground up, they have their way of sticking around well after that pregnancy test if you ask me.

Take today, for example. Carter has taken to cuddling with mom as he falls asleep at night, which (after months of him wanting nothing to do with snuggles) mom was (albeit selfishly) enjoying. But I know because I’ve been there to witness every single book and blog and article she has read on parenting that she doesn’t want to “spoil” him. So tonight, against her better judgment, I watched as she prayed her bedtime prayer with him, rocked him for a minute and put him down. He cried a bit, but fell asleep shortly thereafter, so I know it was harder on mom than it was on him.

But the truth is I also know this is one of many tiny little lines she and dad will have to cross, just as they did the news that they were having a little person all of those months ago. No matter how many books or blogs or articles they read, one thing remains. They are parents now. Ultimately, it’s up to them to define the line and stick to it.

“Boundaries are to protect life, not to limit pleasures,” as Christian author Ed Cole suggested. I don’t know much about them myself, but I from what I do know I definitely agree. Because I never will forget the day mom and dad found out they were pregnant. That was the day they found out the were having a little person.

But beyond that, they were going to be parents. And along with that, there are lots of other days I won’t forget any day soon. Like today, when mom decided that as much as she wanted to snuggle Carter to sleep, it would not be in his best interest to do so. Sometimes it’s not easy to do the right thing. That doesn’t make it any less right.

 

The Day Fall Fell September 12, 2014

I already know you’re going to think I’m crazy in saying so. But maybe it will make sense if you just let me explain.

On Tuesday, it was 80 degrees and sunny. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky. Tonight, as I write this, it is 40 degrees and raining. It has been cloudy and cold for the last 48 hours. And (this is where the crazy happens), I am loving every minute of it. This is what we here in Wisconsin are used to, after all. I guess you could say fall has fallen. Hard. But I’m okay with that.

Yes, we had a perpetually terrible winter that lasted well into what should have been spring. It was record-breakingly terrible, with temperatures well below zero more days than not, and snow banks higher than fence lines. Spring was almost non-existent as winter somehow slowly melted its way into an incredibly mild summer. I think there were really only one or two incredibly hot weeks in the mix, and lots (and lots) of rain. Throwback snuggles

So I know it sounds crazy that I’m so excited to welcome fall with such open (albeit a bit chilly) paws. That is, until you let me explain.

Yes, fall brings colder temperatures and confirms the impending ferocity of winter in Wisconsin. But it brings so many other things along with it. I love the smell of my forever home when mom makes her famous Very Cheery Cherry pie. I dream of the crackling leaves under my paws as my people clean up the backyard. And you can’t beat a brisk twilight walk around the neighborhood as the smell of burning wood resonates in the air. But the best thing of all is the cuddling.

It happened tonight in what might be one of the most special moments between myself, mom and dear baby Carter to date. As you know, Carter is eight-months-old already, and he and I have been going through a bit of a rough patch. I will admit that the fur pulling and screeching sounds he makes as he is figuring out his vocal chords have worn a bit thin. But all of that was forgotten tonight as mom rocked dear baby Carter to sleep.

It was no different than any other night since he’s been born. My people followed the same bedtime routine as always. But tonight, after months of apparent disapproval of the cuddling concept (with only a few exceptions), dear baby Carter cuddled. For a good long while. I found myself so drawn to the simple joy of the moment that I curled up on mom’s (freezing cold bare) feet and stayed there through the duration of the rocking time.

It could have been five minutes. Or it could have been an hour. All I know is that tonight I was incredibly okay with the fact that fall has fallen around here. Because it has brought us only good things so far.

 

Snuggles To The Rescue March 15, 2014

It’s not the first time and it won’t be the last. Joy. From the ground up, I’ve found it in one of its most simplest forms. And I feel a little bit guilty since I was a kind of resentful of it at first. Because I hated that it wasn’t me anymore. I was no longer the primary source of joy in my forever home. In a way, I have been replaced.

But today I realized that I’m okay with that. I still get plenty of cuddles. I still bring plenty of joy. But now it’s Carter’s turn to be the master of joy in our home. Over the last 10 weeks since he’s been around, I have taken the secondary role in the house. When people come to visit, it’s not me they are coming to see. It’s Carter. When people come to snuggle, it’s not me they are coming to cuddle. It’s Carter.

Tonight I heard the words spoken that I already knew to be true. “Carter is like an anti-depressant,” my mom’s friend Dorian said. “Who needs Xanax when you can hold a baby?” I’ve known the power of touch to be pretty special since I was a young pup. I love the power of a good cuddle, not just for me but for whoever I am cuddling. But to hear it spoken aloud that honestly, that openly, was truly refreshing.

I think that can be hard for people to do sometimes. To say what they are really feeling. Sometimes its hard enough to feel what they are really feeling, especially when it’s not something positive. Like when you’re lonely. Or sad. Or (gasp, I know it happens to everyone sometimes) depressed. But it takes a level of honesty to admit these things, and that is the same sort of openness that lets the good in. As tough as it can be to be emotionally vulnerable, being just that allows the good in with the bad.

I would know. It would be very easy to let all of this bother me. As if baby Carter is somehow stealing my joy mojo. Instead, I was reminded today that it brings me the sincerest form of joy. Because it’s that special kind of joy that warms an entire room. I’ve always believed joy is best when it is shared, and this is no exception to that rule. In a way I have been replaced. But I’m okay with that.

I think Elizabeth Green said it best. “Sometimes the most ordinary things could be made extraordinary, simply by doing them with the right people.”

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Leaving A Legacy February 16, 2014

I don’t have money. Or property in Hawaii. Or antiques. When it comes to possessions, all I really have is my comfort circle (otherwise known as my toy collection), my food, and some treats. And the fur on my back. That’s about it.

I don’t know if it’s the recent arrival of my dear little person. Or maybe the fact that my sixth birthday is rapidly approaching. But lately this is all I can think about. Legacy. What is mine worth? I know this is how wealth management professionals make a living, advising people on financial plans for the future and beyond. But I’m pretty sure there aren’t many doggie financial advisors out there.Legacy Looks Like This

And maybe it’s better that way. This occurred to me yesterday morning as I shared a very special moment with my forever family. We were gathered together in the bedroom, all five of us, when it happened. The sun was shining through the windows but that’s not where the warmth in the room was coming from. Not for me at least. My heart was glowing with the sincerest of joys as snuggled up to baby Carter, who was snuggled up to dad, who was holding hands with mom. I realized exactly what my legacy will look like in those moments.

It’s not that much unlike American songstress Tina Turner who said “my legacy is that I stayed on course…from the beginning to the end, because I believed in something inside of me.”

I don’t have money or property or anything of monetary value. I bet even if I tried to sell the beloved members of my comfort circle, I wouldn’t come up with much. But that doesn’t really matter. Because I have the fur on my back and the love in my heart. Legacy. I have exactly as much to pay forward as I choose to have. It’s worth whatever I want it to be worth.

And these paws have a lot to offer the world. Like life lessons. And everything that matters to me. And joy. From the ground up, that is what I want my legacy to be.