Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Give and Take March 28, 2014

It’s been a long time coming. Yet it seemed to pass with the blink of an eye. Today was mom’s last day at that place called work. And I thought she’d be excited. Instead I was met with mixed emotions upon her return home. It wasn’t until later that I understood why.

Get what you giveIt had been a busy day around here, with my grandma and aunt Morgan spending time with baby Carter and I. There was an incident involving a teeny tiny cut that happened when Morgan was cutting Carter’s itsy bitsy nails. He cried. Grandma and Morgan cried. If I could, I would have cried. It was tough on everyone because we all know no one would intentionally hurt our dear little person. Yet he was hurt today.

I thought it was oddly poetic that mom seemed a little hurt too. She invested a tremendous amount of herself in that place, but even more so in the people it included. They became her work family. They came to her with troubles and she never once turned them away. As they took other opportunities in and outside the organization, she celebrated their success. She worked almost as hard to foster relationships as she did at her job itself.

So today, when she left the office for the last time with her box of office keepsakes, she did so with a heavy heart. Because she quite honestly didn’t feel very loved. Her work family let her go with very little fanfare. It was all too soon forgotten how she cared for them in time of need. And as she is taking an opportunity outside the organization, very few peopled celebrated her success.

But that’s the thing about give and take. It doesn’t always turn out like we plan. Just like no one would intentionally hurt dear baby Carter, I believe no one meant to hurt mom today. And I think deep down she knows that too. Or at least she does a pretty good job of pretending.

Because it has indeed been a long time coming. And it has passed in the blink of an eye. It doesn’t matter that mom didn’t take much fanfare home with her today. She gave 110%. That’s what really matters anyway.

 

Making Sense of the Chaos March 26, 2014

You’ve heard it from me. And – if you’re anywhere in the central United States – you’ve been hearing it for months. It’s been a tough winter around here. I’ve done my best to make light of a negative situation, which has been made a lot easier thanks to my mom being home from that place called work for so long. I know it was to take care of baby Carter (not little ole me), but it doesn’t matter.

I’ve loved it. Especially since the weather has kept us all cozy together inside. I know it goes against every canine bone in my body to say this, but it hasn’t been so bad for me. Sure, I miss the warm weather and all things that come with it. I miss walks in the neighborhood, adventures at the dog park and the (rare, but oh so exciting) endeavors beyond city limits. I miss the days when I came first, before this dear little person who I do love so much.Snuggle Bug

But I’ve had my snuggles. I’ve had irreplaceable time with my forever mom. I’ve snuck my way into time with her and baby Carter. And I’ve come to look forward to what happens after mom leaves the door slightly ajar in the morning. That means guests are coming. Guests like Auntie Morgan or mom’s mom, or one (or more!) of mom or dads friends.

It’s a far cry from my former life as sole daytime guardian of the Schmidt abode. There is very little time for myself these days. Less time to drift into the daydream kind of sleep I used to when it was me, myself and I all day long every weekday. Less time to do as I please from my spot in the window. I guess you could say it’s less time to be myself.

But that would be silly. Because I am probably more myself now than ever before. Now I am a companion, not just to my people, but to whomever comes to watch over dear baby Carter. I am a protector of dear baby Carter. And I am myself. Nothing could ever change that.

Not even how awful a winter we’ve had around here. Silly me thinking last winter was rough. This winter has reminded me to slow it down. To remember what really maters. To make sense of the chaos. It’s the only way to live.

Here is the video you’ve heard so much about, featuring my forever family. Note my forever mom picking up dear baby Carter about halfway through, and then her bringing Carter into our kitchen and the end. To me, it brings things full circle. Which is a wonderful place to live.

 

All In the Family January 23, 2014

A memory long forgotten. The motivation to run another mile. The last piece to a mysterious puzzle. In a few precious beats, music can evoke so many reactions deep within our hearts and minds. Today it brought laughter to my living room.

It started simply as it always does. The cast of characters is familiar, including my mom, dad, aunt Morgan, grandma and baby Carter. One second Carter was crying, the next he wasn’t. The crying ceased almost instantly upon the start of mom, Morgan and grandma singing.Family

“A stinky foofter is a smelly fart,” they cooed, “it wafts through the air, making nostrils flair. Some will turn away…others sniff, shrug and stay…a stinky foofter is a smelly fart.” And, as if on cue, a baby foofter resonated through the room as the verse drew to a close. It never ceases to amaze me how such a small person can emit such noises. And (even though he had absolutely no idea what was happening) his comic timing was uncanny.

It was a song they made up when mom and her sister were young. For those of you who are unfamiliar, foofter is our family’s word for fart, as it was long ago deemed less offensive than its counterpart in reference to human gas emission. The song is an ode both to the ridiculousness of the word itself, as well as to the quirks of the family.

Everyone knows it could hardly pass as music to anyone other than us. Most people would probably find it to be absolute gibberish. But it doesn’t matter. It worked. Carter stopped crying. And my people were laughing together. In that moment I felt completely overwhelmed with love for my (albeit admittedly quirky) loved ones. Because that’s the thing about family. From the ground up, we love. Wholeheartedly and completely and in spite of (as well as because of) all the things that make us a unique sum of our parts.

“In every conceivable manner, the family is the link to our past, bridge to our future,” suggested American writer Alex Haley.

Today music brought laughter to my living room. And with it came a reminder. Family. We need them for so much. But sometimes we need them for so little. Like a smile. Or a hug. Or, in my case today, a round of laughter thanks to an absolutely ridiculous bit of nonsense.

 

Standing In A Moment September 27, 2013

There’s this thing about dogs. New breeds continue to emerge on a daily basis, both of the mutt and purebred variety. Some have pointy ears. Others have fluffy tails. Others weigh more than some humans. But underneath it all, we all have a few things in common. Most of us like to play. A lot of us have a crazy obsession with smelling whatever we can get our nose into. And the majority of us don’t always know what’s in our best interest. Beyond that, there are a couple of things that unite us all – including (but not limited to) our perception of time. Big Time Thinking

It’s kind of hard to explain in a context other than a story like what happened to me this week. My people left me at Grandma’s house with my cousin Buddy on Wednesday. I didn’t know how long I would be there, and at first I was downright miserable. That is, until Buddy’s contagious joy struck a cord with my little doggie heart. We chased around the house and I got lost in the moment with my friend and our silliness. In that moment, I decided to live it up at Grandma’s house. Why not?

It wasn’t long before my heart reminded me why not. Time. It’s a dog’s best and worst friend. I love it when it’s on my side, and despise it when it’s not. (I suppose this can’t be that different than the human perspective on the matter). Why is it that time seems to slow to a complete halt when we’re anxious or looking forward to something? And then when it happens it happens in the blink of an eye?

That was today for me. This morning Grandma kept teasing me about how my people were coming home today. One might think this made the day fly by as I waited for their return. Not so much. I paced. I whined. I sat and stared at Grandma. Where are they? Didn’t you say they’d be back soon? I asked her these things silently, hoping she could somehow read my mind and tell me not to worry. Time. My worst friend. I waited and waited and finally, it was time. Grandma had me outside when they arrived and I couldn’t contain my excitement. I showered them with doggie hugs and kisses. Time. My best friend.

“Time is the coin of your life,” suggested American poet Carl Sandburg. “It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent.”

There’s this thing about dogs. We’re playful. We like to smell anything and everything. We don’t always know what’s good for us. But above all we love people. Much of our coins are spent loving people. Case and point: I love Grandma. Even though she told on me to my people about my whining by the door after they left the other day. And therein lies the one thing that (above all) ties all canines together regardless of our differences in appearance and personality. Sure, we all have a similar perception of time. But beyond that we love people. People are our universe. And our people — my forever people — they are the world.