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.

 

 

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The Winter Doldrums Cure March 6, 2015

I know it happens in the winter months around here. It’s one of those things I have gotten used to, living where I do in the fine state of Wisconsin. And, as much as I might prefer to whine and moan about it, I know it’s for my own good.

From late October through some mysterious time in spring, I simply don’t spend much time outside. My time in my backyard paradise gets limited primarily to practical things, and my dear forever mom and I don’t walk the neighborhood much. If at all. Car rides are also limited. And the dog park? Forget about it. It’s a wasteland anyway, because a lot of other pet parents feel the same way about having their dogs out in negative-degree temperatures. Running Joy

So when mom said the magic words this morning, my heart about jumped out of my chest. (Especially because I also heard her say it was seven degrees outside a few minutes prior). Car ride. From the ground up, it is one of my favorite things to hear. Off we went, mom, dear baby Carter and I, on a car ride to the groomer.

It’s a place I like more than I think I should. I don’t necessarily like the grooming part, but the socialization is unparalleled. Today did not disappoint either, as I saw my pal Jack. He’s one of the dogs who hangs out there on a daily basis, so I’ve come to know him pretty well during my times there.

It turns out I didn’t know something pretty important about him. He too has been a big puppy brother to two little people who were not very far apart in age. And he survived. Well, more than that. He loved it. Sure, there was the tail and fur pulling phase. And the newborn screams that pierce straight through to one’s brain. But the playtime. He said that’s the best.

It was an interesting perspective to hear, especially since I’ve admittedly had my concerns about having another little person to look after. I already knew it would be okay, but it was refreshing to hear about it from someone who’s been there. Especially since he said one of the best things about having two little people around is that it makes these long, cooped up winters around here not feel as long.

Because let’s face it. It’s pretty terrible being trapped inside for so many months of the year. We usually don’t know how long it will be until it’s finally over. But the little people with all of their crazy ways have a way of keeping things busy in a way that truly warms my heart. That doesn’t mean I’m not sure as anxious for spring as everyone else around here. It just means I know I have something pretty special to tide me over until it arrives.

 

 

 

A Smile and A Garbage Can February 28, 2015

Weeks or even months can go by without it happening. Maybe it has something to do with it so often seeming much easier to complain or focus on the negative than to praise a job well done or focus on the positive. Regardless of the reason, I’m happy to report that today it happened twice.

A smile. From the ground up, it is exactly as simple as it sounds.I'm a Half Full Doggie

Today it was dear baby Carter’s smiles that made a difference in the world. Eighteen. That is how many different people’s hearts mom said he touched today with nothing more than his contagious grin. One heart in particular was touched in a slightly unexpected way.

Apparently mom and Carter were shopping the cereal aisle at Target when it happened. They came across an older lady who Carter simply loved. He smiled and giggled and smiled some more. The game continued as the duo encountered her again a few minutes later. And again in the checkout line, where the woman said it.

“I feel more loved by this little guy than I have in days,” she told mom, who was touched by the sentiment.

Then there was the garbage can. From the ground up, it is as necessary as it sounds.

A piece of plastic broke off ours recently thanks to the frigidly cold temperatures and we needed a new one. To get it, mom needed to call the city and request one be dropped off, which they said would happen in one to ten business days. So you can imagine my surprise when a new one turned up way ahead of schedule about a half hour later. It might sound silly, but that simple thing made the lives of my people a little easier, and for that I am grateful.

Kindness. From the ground up, it isn’t complicated.

Too often it seems easier to complain. Or to focus on something negative. So today I do the opposite. Today (and every day) I choose to stand for all things positive. If it happens in smiles, great. If it comes in a less conventional package (like a garbage can for example), so be it. The point is to find these things, these moments, that remind us of all the good there is in the world and do everything we can to pass it on.

 

The Real Waiting Game February 24, 2015

And just like that it all felt real. To me, that is. I know it’s been very real to mom this whole time. And to dad more so after he and Carter watched in awe as the ultrasound took place. But to me it took longer, just like it did the first time.

I wondered all day what was inside the humongous box that arrived at my forever home this morning. I’m usually intrigued at such deliveries, but they are rarely this impressive in size. The delivery man even offered to bring it inside. So began the waiting game, as I wondered and puzzled at what could possibly be contained in such a large cardboard vessel. And patience is not a gift of mine. Somewhere Out There

My questions were answered not very long after dad returned from that place called work. With the help of a very curious dear baby Carter, he tore open the box to reveal several large pieces of wood. About an hour and a half later, voila! It all made sense. Everything pieced together into a beautiful crib for our new little person. Dad hung some of the art he and mom picked out for the room, too. And a mobile just like Carter’s (with a dog that looks just like me) was assembled.

Mom cried at the sight of everything starting to come together. Tears of joy. From the ground up, they are the only kind of tears I don’t mind seeing around my forever home. And in that moment, as I stood by her side in what was not all that long ago dear Carter’s room, it felt real for me.

In a few short months, a new little person will be sleeping in that crib. I can still picture the first time mom and dad carefully placed Carter in his crib. He looked so tiny then. Almost too tiny to be sleeping alone in such a big space. But he survived. And so will the new little person.

That wait to find out what was inside the box was nothing. Now the real waiting game begins for me.

 

 

When Tomorrow Comes February 20, 2015

I thought maybe it would change after Carter was born. Or definitely after mom’s work schedule allowed her a little more time at home during the week. Or certainly when it was determined that Carter would have mostly in-home care. But this simple truth remains the same.

I love Fridays. It is (by far) my favorite day of the week. In The Right Direction

A lot has changed in my world since I last made this proclamation. I used to spend most of my weekdays napping alone in various places in the house. I would count down the minutes until mom came home from that place called work over her lunch break and we would walk the neighborhood. The countdown would then resume as she returned to work for the remainder of the afternoon. It was agony, though I never minded the naps.

People are always here now. Around the clock, someone is here, in my forever home. I’m rarely alone anymore, except for when Carter and family venture out into the world. And then, I don’t really mind the alone time since it doesn’t happen that often.

So much has changed in my world and yet this simple truth remains the same. Fridays are my most favorite day of the week. I sense it in my forever family, too, like we all are on the same page emotionally from the moment we wake in the morning. It’s going to be a good day. It’s going to be better than yesterday. Because it’s Friday.

I find this is especially true after a week like we had. Beginning to end, it was rough. More challenging than most.

But today we woke up and it was like we collectively decided it was going to be a better day if, for no other reason than that it is Friday. And why, might you ask, is Friday so special? I can’t speak for my people, but I speak for myself in my appreciation of this day as the start of the longest straight stretch of family time I get in a week.

It’s the start of the weekend, where the family is together (more often than not) and joy is personified in the simplest of ways. It lives in the moments where there is laughter and silliness. It breathes the life back into us in a way no other set of days can. It reinvigorates. It rejuvenates. It restores. Until Monday comes, and again we patiently wait.

 

Real Big Love February 19, 2015

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 6:43 pm
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I knew it was bad when mom started crying too. Well, I knew it was bad before that, but I hoped something magically would happen to bring the madness to an end. Two hours. That is how long it went on today. These awful, piercing, resonating screams reverberated off the walls of my forever home for two hours. But it felt like a lot more than that to me. Becoming Truth

The worst part for mom was the same as the worst part for me. We didn’t know what was wrong. And, at least in cases like this, when you don’t know what’s wrong it’s pretty hard to fix it no matter how badly you want to. So I watched as mom tried every trick in the book. After going through the usual list (making sure he’s not hungry, wet or hurt), she turned it into high gear. She tried changing up the scenery (twice), turned on a few of his favorite shows and movies and played with his favorite toys. He didn’t want to be held but he didn’t want to not be held either.

The screams just kept on coming. And with them, the tears. The sight of mom crying tears of defeat as he screamed is one that was too much for me to bear. I fled for the bedroom after not very long and prayed for peace.

It didn’t come until about an hour later when dad came to the rescue. He came home from that place called work for just a little bit, and the mere sight of him seemed to make Carter relax. I know mom was deeply disappointed by this. I watched as she snuck into the other room to cry quietly. I knew it was bad when mom started crying too. But she refused to let anyone other than me see her disappointment.

Because we both know she wasn’t the failure she felt like in that moment. And in reality, she found the sincerest form of solace that the crying had finally drawn to an end. As I watched this all unfold today, I learned a lesson about love. Sometimes love looks like this. It isn’t always pretty or like you’d picture. But that doesn’t change the fact that it was real big love. And it might take longer than we like sometimes, but that kind of love has a way of bringing even the most painful screams to silence.

 

A Lot Like Love February 13, 2015

It’s one of those things I’m glad us canines never have to worry about. We are what we are, and (other than our breed, I suppose) it really is as simple as that. We don’t have labels for things. Not like people with their relationship statuses anyway.

Single. Widowed. Divorced. Married. It’s complicated.

Indeed it is complicated, and not in a good way. Because in my mind there is something that unites all of these labels together in spite of society’s attempts to identify separate groups. Love. From the ground up, I find it to be a constantly evolving emotion that truly knows no bounds. Nor does it fit perfectly into any one of those boxes.

Around here, I saw this brought to life today in some intriguingly interesting ways. My dear forever mom worked mostly from home today, which means Carter and I got to enjoy a little extra time with her than usual. I watched as she put on her Energizer bunny hat, seeming determined to get some serious work done around here. When she wasn’t taking care of Carter, she was working. And when she wasn’t working, she was cleaning. Kisses

It probably doesn’t sound like much, but I could tell this particular round of chores had a special motive for her. My suspicions were confirmed when she (as she does quite often) explained to Carter and I what she was up to. Her goal was to get chores done today so her and my dear forever dad wouldn’t have to worry about them over the weekend. It was her little way, in addition to the gift and card she got him for Valentine’s Day tomorrow, to show her love.

So when the doorbell rang this afternoon, she was actually a bit irritated at first. How dare whoever is at the door interrupt her in while she was in the midst of her love-driven cleaning/organizing/working rampage? The tears came when she opened the door and saw what awaited her outside. Flowers. From dad, Carter and I.

And so we showed our love for mom in a slightly less practical way. (Though I will admit it was dad who took the lead with the idea).

Watching all of this happen reminded me of some pretty important features about this thing called love. It doesn’t have to fit into a box. Whether you’re single or have been married for 75 years, it finds its way into life in moments like these. As it should, I feel, for anyone you care about.

So tomorrow, as we in America pause to reflect on all things love, I’ve decided to stop to take stock of all of the loved ones in my life. Not just my forever family, but my extended families and friends and those I haven’t seen in a while and you out there in the blogosphere. I might not be able to show you with chores (or flowers), but believe me when I say from the bottom of my little doggie heart: I love you.