Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

The Special Times December 25, 2014

Christmas breakfast with quiche and a tray of chocolate treats. Time with family that includes at least one silly dancing moment to Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You.” Cozy movie time by candlelight with hot chocolate and lots of comfy blankets watching “The Polar Express” on Christmas night. There are certain things about the holiday that is Christmas that it wouldn’t seem the same without.

Tradition. From the ground up, I’ve observed it is something pretty important to my dear forever mom. When it came to embracing old traditions, today was no different. Each of the aforementioned things were a very important part of our admittedly busy holiday. It was a truly action-packed day from start to end, and these familiar things tied everything together in a way only tradition can do.

But something was different this year. Very different. This year there was a little person in our midst. A little person who has never before been party to these traditions. A little one who has never before experienced Christmas. And, perhaps most notably, a little person who probably didn’t care too much whether or not quiche and chocolate treats were in the picture this morning.

That is precisely whey I was a bit surprised to find some new traditions in the mix. In reality, I know dear baby Carter probably won’t remember anything about today. So to him it certainly didn’t matter that he was wearing what mom fondly referred to as his special Christmas pajamas. Or that he got his very own piece of Christmas morning quiche. Or that Santa made his first-ever visit to our house to deliver special goodies from the North Pole.

Today was painted with all kinds of new traditions that embraced the addition of Carter to the family fold this year. It was all a joy to witness, and I can’t wait to see it all again next year.Let Your Heart Be Light

But amid all the new, it was surprisingly refreshing to me when something familiar filled my doggie heart with Christmas joy. It happened on the way from one family Christmas party to another as I assumed my position as co-pilot in the front passenger seat of the car. Mom has taken to riding with Carter in the back seat lately, leaving me to her usual spot in the front. And though I miss pushing my way onto her lap in that same spot, it is pretty nice having that prominent and important spot to myself.

I was reveling in that feeling when it happened. Dad put his arm over and pet me as he drove, just as I remember him doing for each of the four Christmases I’ve been fortunate enough to be a part of this family. In that moment and the moments that followed, the holiday was complete for me.

There are certain things this time of year that Christmas wouldn’t be the same without. For some, it’s in the memories of years past dancing around like ninnies to “All I Want for Christmas is You.” For others, it’s a certain dish or dishes that simply have to be a part of the day. For me, it’s what all of these things really are. Joy. From the ground up, that’s what Christmas means to me.

To see the special moment: https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=593626052727&l=8269833515318459806

 

The Truth About Happiness May 14, 2014

There’s this problem I have with loneliness. It’s one thing when its you feel lonely. It’s something very different when it’s someone you love. I am struggling with something I didn’t know whether I should share. But she said I could, so I’m just going to say it.

Love.My mom’s dear friend Dorian has a problem. She loves. A lot. And that is not a problem as far as I’m concerned – far from it, in fact. But currently she is wrapping her heart around my dear little person Carter, and his new little buddy Noah. She loves them so much she could bite their little baby cheeks off. (Apparently this is a sign of love I don’t understand. I don’t ask questions.)

But it also makes her sad sometimes. Like tonight, when she came over to help mom make a lasagna for baby Noah’s mom. It was a happy time with a happy mission. But she was a little sad. I could see it. Mom could see it. And it bothered us both. Because if I’m being honest we don’t even have to ask what’s wrong. We just know because we love her so. (And maybe a little bit because she’s told us.)

She’s lonely. She wants what her two dear friends have. She wants a husband. And a baby (or three). And it makes her sad sometimes that she is single. She doesn’t have a boyfriend (at least at the moment), let alone a husband. This is not for lack of searching, believe you me. She is always on that thing called a (not-so) Smartphone talking with potential boyfriends on the Internet while she’s here. I can’t say I blame her. There are a lot of potential good things out there on this thing called the Internet.

But I have a theory about loneliness. And happiness. And most things emotional. Sometimes the harder you work at something natural, the harder it becomes to figure out. From the ground up, I am a believer in the power of not searching for these things. Because I think sometimes the harder we search, the harder things get to find. People call it trying too hard. I’m not sure you can ever really “try too hard,” but I do think there are adverse consequences when you do. Sometimes it’s a better strategy to stop looking. To stop trying. Because sometimes, I think that is when all things good make their way to you.

 

Oops I Did It Again April 26, 2014

It smelled like garbage. Again. And I loved it. Again. I think that is (at least one of the reasons) why I love garbage so much to this day (much to the chagrin of my forever people). I like it because it is an homage to where I came from. I love it because it reminds me of home.

I’ve carried each of these constants with me long after getting separated from my mom and brothers all of those years ago. It came to mind today when I (accidentally?) knocked over the overflowing garbage can in the kitchen. It was the second time I’ve done this recently, but it’s not my fault there were remnants of sausage and pepperoni pizza inside. My nose made me do it. Did I Do That?

Reasons aside, my mom was certainly displeased as she hustled around to clean up the resulting mess on the kitchen floor. I’ve found there is a great misunderstanding between canines and people about what is considered garbage. It’s a lesson I’ve learned many times over and yet can’t seem to remember in moments when my nose takes over.

So it’s a good thing I know evasive maneuvers to correct these situations. I kept my distance from mom until making my move a couple hours later. I needed to show her I was sorry for making her upset (not so much for the garbage scavenger hunt). Unbeknownst to him, I enlisted baby Carter in my mission. He and I have been doing this thing lately where he lets me lick his head. I can’t explain it. For some reason its something my people and I share – this almost instinctual desire to smell his head. For mom it stops there. Not for me. He needs to know I love him, I tell myself. And so begins the love fest.

It’s been happening more frequently lately, but something new happened today. He pet me while I licked him and said hi to me. Well all right, it was more of a gurgle. And I’m pretty sure he pet me on accident. But it made my heart smile. And (better yet) it made mom happy. I think she was so happy in that moment she forgot about how upset she was about the mess. That is what true joy should do.

In that moment I realized I can get away with knocking over the garbage every now and then. Because we’re going to make a good team, Carter and I. Just call us the joy brigade.

To see the joy brigade in action: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=574785833677&l=7325566880963251810

 

Everything’s Going To Be All Right February 17, 2014

I dropped the ball today. It was kind of like that movie scene where you see what’s coming before it happened. I saw it and then it happened. One minute Carter and I were lounging together comfortably. The next he was rolling.

It’s my doggie understanding that rolling behavior from a seven-week-old baby is normally something to be celebrated. Its something of a developmental marker the doctors tell new parents to monitor. Except when it happens like this.On the ottoman

We were on the ottoman together. And then we weren’t. I saw it and then I heard it. The pain cry, as mom has come to call it. Usually it happens when he accidentally scratches his face or something. This was different. Mom was coming back from the bathroom when it happened.

And in that moment I think we both felt like failures. Me, because I couldn’t stop the inevitable from happening. Mom, because she took her eyes off the situation in time of need. So she swooped him up and I was at the ready to do whatever I needed to do to help. I stayed underfoot (a place I can’t say I was entirely welcome in this situation) as mom paced and swayed with him and called the doctor.

My mind raced hopelessly with all of the most terrible of outcomes. My heart skipped a beat when he stopped crying a few minutes later. In a complete emotional frenzy, I kissed him all over just as soon as it was physically possible to do so. And then came a very powerful message from the doctor’s office. Doing what I can to help

It’s the first time, but it won’t be the last that he does something we’re not expecting. And it’s going to be okay. He’s going to be okay. I heard the nurse say it, and I heard mom repeat it (a few times) before I released the breath I didn’t realize I’d been holding. It’s going to be okay. Even though I dropped the ball, he is going to be okay.

It’s a powerful message to be sure, yet I think we all need to hear it from time to time. Sometimes we don’t even know how badly we need to hear it until we hear the words out loud. Until we release the breath we didn’t realize we’d been holding. But that’s only the first part of the puzzle.

The second is in believing it. These things happen sometimes. It’s like those movie scenes when you see what’s coming before it happens. And then it does. In this case the scene that follows is looking good – there don’t seem to be any warning signs that the fall had any negative impact whatsoever. So for now we have no choice. When all else fails we need to believe everything’s going to be all right.