Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Never Letting Go May 20, 2014

I wasn’t expecting anything. Not with the baby around. And mom being really sick. And dad being distracted with work stuff.

So you can imagine my surprise when it happened. It wasn’t right away in the morning like usual, but it happened. And it absolutely made my day. Today I got my birthday present from the most unlikely of sources. It’s a moment for which I have been waiting for more than a year. And today, on the day we just so happen to celebrate my day of birth into this world, it happened.

Baby Carter reached for me this afternoon. Mom has been working with him on this basically since the day he was born. But alas, today he did it on his own accord. There he was, standing (with mom’s support of course) and he reached out and touched my face and my ears and my tail. I’m not going to lie, as much as I was looking forward to it, it was pretty scary when it actually happened.

Because let’s face it. Four-month-old babies have a death grip. It doesn’t matter whether its mom’s hair or his teething giraffe or mom’s necklace or dad’s arm. When they grab on to something, it’s for the long haul. So that’s what happened when he caught a handful of fur today. He grabbed on and would not let go.

And in that moment I realized that’s the best birthday present a doggie could ask for – a little person to grab onto and not let go. Sure, I enjoyed my customary ice cream cone and extra bits of attention from my people throughout the day. It was all especially nice because I truthfully wasn’t expecting anything. It’s not a special birthday, after all. Who celebrates turning six doggie years, anyway? Another (equivalent of seven people years) older was my first thought as I woke this morning.

But today I had a little person do what they do best. He grabbed on. And no matter how old I get I know one thing is for sure. I will never let that go.

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Change The World March 24, 2014

It seemed doable. Help me get my first book in order. Keep the house clean. Send the book to a few publishers. Do the laundry. Get a book deal all lined up. Make dinner. Totally doable. Except it wasn’t.

This is what I had in mind when I first heard my forever mom would be home with my new little person and I for almost a whole 12 weeks after he was born. Well, I couldn’t have been more wrong. It’s one of those things she apparently read about in all the baby books and blogs and online forums and neglected to tell anyone. Maybe because she hoped it wouldn’t be true. But it was.Boppy buddies

Tomorrow is the 12-week anniversary of dear Carter’s birth. And while mom has done a pretty stellar job (at least in my opinion) of keeping the house in order during that time, anything beyond that has all but fallen by the wayside. That thing all her friends told her about never having time to so much as shower on a daily basis? Truth.

So you can imagine how far my plans for our book deal didn’t get. I may as well have added changing the world to the to-do list. Ultimately that’s what I want to do with my book after all. But now that mom is back to work and we are in transition, I realized today the biggest thing standing in the way of changing the world is ourselves.

I watch as mom holds herself to impossible standards. She is always trying to do everything (and then some). Trying to be everything to everyone. And when it’s all said and done, she ends up losing herself in a disarray of high expectations and disappointment. It’s a nightmare to watch. I can’t imagine what it would be like to live.

To me it seemed doable. But maybe that was my mistake. What do I know? I have two main jobs in life – love my people with all of my heart and soul and share my joy with the world. Everything else is taken care of for me. The same cannot be said of my people. They work hard. They have long lists of things to do that don’t always get done. It must be pretty normal for people to have this problem.

Except I can’t say it’s actually a problem when you know the solution. It’s tough for just one person to do it all. To change the world. But we, together, can change the world. We just have to work together. We just have to live. We just have to do it one paw print at a time. All forward motion counts.

Today’s post is dedicated to my dear friend HuntMode, who helped me see the light on this topic today.

Thank you, Huntie, for your friendship and love.

 

The New Normal January 31, 2014

This I did not expect. Or at least not to the extent to which it’s happened. Change. From the ground up, change has been the name of the game in the Schmidt household for the last month. One month ago today, my little person entered the world. Happy One Month!

This Boppy Thing is for me right?I thought I was ready. From the gadgets scattered all over the house (most of which I didn’t understand) to the stacks of baby books I helped mom page through, we were set. But I was wrong. What I wasn’t expecting was admittedly the most obvious of things. Change. To my days. To my nights. My life as I knew it has not been the same.

We canines are creatures of habit. We love our routines. Prior to baby Carter’s arrival, I had come quite accustomed to the everyday routine around here. That has all been thrown to the wayside for the last four weeks or so, and I can’t say I liked it at first.

But today I occurred to me. Dad asked if I wanted to go on a car ride, my first with my little person and my forever people. It was a short ride involving the thing my people call errands, but it meant the whole wide world to me that I was invited along to enjoy the occasion.

That’s when my heart and mind came together in the realization that it’s going to be okay. This is our new normal. We’ve settled into new habits and new routines. There are remnants of the time before that have melded seamlessly with all that has changed. Sleep is still tough to come by (for all of us), but most other things have hit a stride. And my people are happy (albeit overtired) so that means I am happy.

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change,” American self-help writer suggests.

I’ve never been that big a fan of change. I wasn’t expecting it, wasn’t prepared for it, and now that it is happening, I can’t say I liked it at first. But one month ago today, my life changed forever. We may not be getting much sleep. And literally everything about our routine has been uprooted and updated. But this new normal looks pretty good from where I’m sitting. Change. From the ground up, it’s not so bad after all.

 

Cheering For The Team September 8, 2013

It’s easy for me to forget sometimes. I go about my days seeking good in all people, places and things so why on Earth would I ever prepare for the worst? Instead I always expect the best. I guess you could say I’ve come to a place in my optimistic philosophy of life where I take good things for granted.

Because it’s not always good news. Sometimes the worst is reality. Like when a loved one is diagnosed with cancer. Or there was a car crash. Or there is something terribly wrong with the baby.

It didn’t even occur to me that something could be wrong with the baby. I know mom has been nervous enough about that for the lot of us, but I just assumed that all is well and in approximately 19 more weeks my little person will arrive home happy and healthy. Apparently that may not be the case.

The big ultrasound happened about a week and a half ago. The exciting one. You know, the one where they could find out the sex of the baby? But I’ve decided to continue withholding the results of that particular portion of the test. Because that’s not all it involved. From what I could tell from the conversation that followed the appointment, that wasn’t even the focus. Rather, the true purpose of the ultrasound was to see the baby. Measure the baby. Make sure the baby’s organs are developing in the right places inside the body.Hope

Hearing all of this shocked me to my little doggie core. Well of course the baby looks good, is growing at a healthy pace and has a heart inside its little baby body, I thought. Right? A technician named Steve did the procedure, and he calmly talked them through everything. He explained what he was looking for as he took various pictures, and alas I was right. Each and everything he checked looked perfectly healthy.

What a blessing! And to think I just assumed it to be so. Albeit fabulous news, this was somewhat of a sobering reminder of all of the things that could still go wrong. The worst could still happen. But I realized something today.

My parents were dressing up in their usual Packer Sunday football garb and my little doggie Packer jersey was thrown into the mix. I pictured this happening with my little person someday soon so we would be a happy family of Packer fans cheering on our team.

To cheer on our team. That’s why I think I function in my optimistic bubble of positivity. But like anything, I find myself reminded that we need balance. Because sometimes we get benched. Or injured. Or our career ends forever. Preparing for the worst while expecting the best doesn’t make us weaker. It makes us stronger. That’s easy for me to forget sometimes.

 

From Rags to Riches August 17, 2013

It started with a collar. It had little candy corns on it, and my mom bought it at the Menomonee Falls Pet Fair three years ago today. She had yet to actually have a dog in her life, and she was told this was bad luck. It’s bad karma to buy things for a best friend you’ve yet to meet, people told her (as if she was going to somehow jinx the search).

Here’s the thing: she had already met her best friend. She had met me a few days earlier. She knew she loved me at first sight. But her and dad’s first visit to me was so late in the day the shelter wouldn’t allow them to take me home that same day. I knew she’d be back, but I didn’t learn until later that she almost wasn’t.

Since I had been previously returned, the people at Oshkosh Humane Society were particularly cautious throughout my adoption process to ensure this would be the right family. To ensure I wouldn’t be returned again. They didn’t like that mom and dad were a young couple who would likely be having children in the near future. They didn’t like that dad had never had a dog before. They said they feared my soon-to-be forever people were just falling in love with a cute face and weren’t prepared for the behavioral handful I could be.

Mom didn’t take any of this very well. She saw it as a direct attack on her ability to be a good doggie parent, and perhaps even a good little people parent. Apparently she and dad even resigned to the point they went to meet another terrier mix named Ariel at a different shelter.

The collar would have fit Ariel too. But dad wouldn’t have that. Meeting Ariel did nothing but prove to him that I was the one they were meant to rescue. So he called the people at the Oshkosh Humane Society, told them they were being harsh, and took me home about a week later. He fought for me and no amount of cuddles, kisses, or tail wags will ever thank him enough for that.

Sporting my new tieEver since I was adopted mom takes me to that fair every third Saturday in August. It’s kind of our thing. So you can imagine my disdain when she and dad left this morning to run errands (which must not be any fun at all since I’m almost never invited along for them) and didn’t return until mid-afternoon. I was certain she forgot by that point and (to be honest) I was the slightest bit heartbroken. I understand that forgetfulness can happen during pregnancy, but I didn’t want to believe it. She couldn’t possibly forget our tradition.

Thank goodness dad reminded her. It’s never been his cup of tea, but he knows it’s important to us and he didn’t want the day to go by without us honoring our tradition. He fought for me again, which I realized today he does so often in so many different ways.

It started with a collar. And it ends with a tie. (Thanks to dad’s gentle reminder), mom and I had a fabulous time as we always do, and (in addition to all sorts of dog treats) I got a couple of doggie neck ties. There was a time in my life I didn’t know where my next meal was coming from, and now people love me enough to fight for me and take me to pet fairs and buy me neck ties (of all crazy things). Collars, neck ties, and dog treats aside, I would say that makes me one of the very richest doggies in the whole wide world.

 

Grass is Grass January 11, 2013

It bothers me when people talk about the grass being greener on the other side of the fence.

First of all, I don’t like fences. They are the ultimate metaphor for limitations. And while I have an appreciation for understanding one’s limitations, I don’t appreciate having a constant reminder taunting me about it.

Also, the way I see color completely negates the concept of the phrase. I see a spectrum of colors consisting mostly of yellows, blues and violets. Reds, greens and oranges are not distinguishable to me.

Regardless of my logical refutes to the phrase, I can admit there are metaphorical implications to consider. For people, fences are less of a limitation. (Especially those four-foot chained link ones that I have been known to clear in my more mischievous past.) And the grass may very well be greener on the other side. But just because something is perceived as a limitation doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be surpassed if it’s for the better good.

As with anything, it’s all a matter of perspective. I’ve said before that I’m an optimist. As a result, I’ve decided to find good in things on my side of the fence by watering the grass with my optimism. One of my favorite inspirational people Hellen Keller had a lot to say on this. Among many references she made to one’s optimistic option as an outlook on things made an appearance in today’s reading with Simple Abundance, which encourages positive thinking.

“No pessimist ever discovered the secrets of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new heaven to the human spirit,” she said.

So I say no to the fence. And no to the grass being greener on the other side. Grass is grass, and its pretty darned great no matter what color it is.

Grass is grass