Wiley C. Schmidt. That is the name engraved on the new tag I got from my forever mom and dad recently. It was my Christmas present, mom said, a replacement for the one they got me the day I went home with them from the Oshkosh Humane Society. That one had tarnished over time to the point where a stranger would no longer be able to read mom’s contact information. (Heaven forbid!)
I was surprised at how bittersweet it was for me to see that old tag go (I think mom put it with a memory box or something with my name on it). It also said Wiley C. Schmidt, and to me it symbolized something. A fresh start. A second chance. A new life. It was all of these things and more. Because that day when I walked into my forever home I felt like I met myself for the first time.
I think this happens to all of us at one point or another in life. We continue along the path, sometimes veering off on our own, other times stopping entirely. Along that path we find out what challenges us, what brings us joy, and what we absolutely cannot handle. And, whether by our choice or the strong encouragement of others, we find out who we are somewhere along the line.
That’s what happened to me that first night in my forever home. I made up my mind this would be my new life, and while there were plenty negatives in my old one, there were lots of positives to incorporate into my new future. Take my name, for example.
That was part of my old life that brought me into my new life. My people opted not to change it when they adopted me, which I appreciate. Because on that day all those days ago I knew it. I was Wiley C. Schmidt. I knew who I was and I was not afraid of it. So while it will always have a very special place in my heart, I know now I don’t need that old tarnished tag to remind me of who I am. Because I have that on lockdown in my heart.