Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Getting Back Up March 3, 2015

I honestly couldn’t handle it. I saw it happen. I heard the sound when it happened. And I knew crying would come next. So I did the cowardly thing and ran away to hide in the bedroom, because I just couldn’t stand to even find out what the aftermath of all that action was.

I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised. My dear baby Carter was all over the place today, climbing things not meant to be climbed, ripping any form of paper he could get his hands on and running. So much running. Before

All of that came to a screeching halt when he was attempting to dismount one of his toys and take off in a full run in one fell swoop. He failed, whacking his head on the hardwood floor pretty good in the process. In the realm of his cries (I’ve come to know them all), it surprised me that this one seemed fairly well under control. And it honestly didn’t last nearly as long as I had thought it would.

I found out later he was also gushing blood from his mouth, where his fairly new set of teeth tore into his top and bottom lip. So you can imagine my surprise when the crying stopped a few minutes after it started. The terrible sound was replaced with the happy toddler babble that preceded the fall. That was a relief enough that I returned to the scene of the crime to check it out. All was well.

But in those moments after it happened, I ran. Mom couldn’t run. I know she was scared, and seeing the blood must have been terrible. I heard her and dad recapping what happened over dinner, and in that moment I felt a gush of pride over the parents they have become.

They both hated that it happened at all. And it was scary (especially for mom). Yet ultimately, they both realized it was probably way worse for them than it was for him. They don’t want anything bad to ever happen to their little boy. Obviously. In spite of all their best efforts, they were reminded today that it’s going to happen. He is going to fall down. And he’s going to get hurt. But it’s okay.

Because it’s getting back up that matters.

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A Heart Full February 27, 2015

There are now two cribs in my forever home. Two closets filled with tiny clothes. Two car seats. Two changing tables. And if I’m being honest, it’s all a bit overwhelming. But if there is something I would prefer not to hear again any time soon, it’s a set of words I find condescending and unnecessary.

“You’re definitely going to have your hands full,” people have been saying to my forever parents. It’s been uttered by friends and family. It’s been referenced by doctors and nurses. It’s even been joked about by complete strangers at the grocery store. And while 18 months (to the day) is not a big gap between little people by any means, it is certainly not one to be condescending about either. Thinking in the Nursery

Because while this may not have been in my parent’s play book for the ideal sibling spacing situation, it wasn’t up to them. From my perspective, it may not have been their plan, but it was certainly God’s plan. And that’s what matters.

Now that I’ve experienced infancy through early toddlerhood, I feel like I can say with some sense of (albeit doggie) authority that I think any sort of spacing would come with its fair share of pros and cons. In our case, I’m happy my people won’t be pushing the reset button after Carter is grown enough that they have forgotten how to survive through sleepless nights. Diapers and bottles and all things baby are all still fresh on their minds.

I know it won’t be easy. I’m just mentally prepared for a couple of pretty challenging years.

But beyond any of that, I heard mom say something today that put things in perspective for me. She was on the phone for work and I’m not sure who she was talking to. I cringed when I heard whoever it was say “you’re going to have your hands full.” Mom didn’t bat an eyelash.

“That’s probably true, but at least I’ll have a heart full too.”

It’s true there are now some doubles of baby things in the house. Soon it will probably look even more like a day care than the organized oasis of peace I once knew. But I’m okay with that. Because I know what mom said is true. These things are signs of what is to come. Right along with the extra crib and diapers and sleepless nights will be more love than any of us knew we even had in our hearts. And that right there is more than worth the extra trouble.

 

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.

 

No Place I’d Rather Be January 23, 2015

I don’t have this problem very often. While not always the most succinctly, I can usually find a way to describe most things. Yet today I struggle. Because where I come from there are no right words to describe this sound.

It was different than it was in those first few months when dear baby Carter would cry. Though it had a way of tearing at mom’s heart, we all came to understand it was simply his only means of communication then. Over time, he has developed a myriad of other ways to tell us all what’s going on in that curious little mind of his. So now when the crying happens, we know it’s really something bad. Wiles and Carter

Especially when it’s more than your ordinary run-of-the-mill sleepy or hungry cry that does occasionally still happen. This was in a realm all its own. It was piercing. His little face was turning purple. And nothing (and I mean nothing) seemed to help. Except being in the arms of my dear forever mom, but even then the screaming continued.

Until it happened. Mom thought to cue up a familiar song on the music player and when those thoughtful notes entered the room I could almost see Carter’s body relax. He was still pretty upset about who knows what (mom thinks it was gas or something), but the crying was noticeably mitigated when the music started.

“Someday I wish I upon a star, wake up where the clouds are far behind me…where trouble melts like lemon drops high above the chimney top that’s where you’ll find me,” sings Hawaiian musician Isreal Kamakawiwo’Ole in a way only he could. “Somewhere over the rainbow, bluebirds fly. And the dreams that you dare to…really do come true.”

It’s our song, mom whispered into Carter’s ear as he snuggled his bright red, tear-soaked face into her chest. And I know it’s going to sound crazy, but I knew in that moment something it is hard to put into words. A mother’s love. From the ground up, it’s about as unconditional as it gets.

I knew it when the crying first started. I knew it even as the crying ramped back up a bit as mom fiddled with the gadget to get the song to play again. I knew it when it quieted down. And when he snuggled his mommy. There is no place either of them would rather be.

 

Nothing Nice To Say November 2, 2014

It doesn’t happen often. But sometimes, when I hear a really good story, it’s not actually good in the traditional sense of the term. Instead, it is one of those stories that makes you think, that challenges you to read beyond the words and find the meaning. To find the morale of the story.

It happened again today when I heard a friend of dad’s tell him about a horrible date he went on last night. I know what you’re thinking and it’s not what you think. This friend got divorced a few years ago, and is the proud parent of a beautiful eight-year-old girl. Sunshine

As such, he has her artwork and other crafts displayed throughout his house out of respect for the time they spend together. I’m talking everything from tie-dye artwork to play dough dresses for her dolls. These things mean a lot to him, and therefore have a prominent presence in his place even when she is not there with him. Especially when she is not there with him.

Apparently the date distastefully showed disinterest in the artwork, telling dad’s friend he was going overboard. He was overcompensating. But that’s not what he heard. He heard her attacking his parenting skills, and it left him cold.

I can only go from stories I hear mom and dad share, but from what I know this man is a spectacular dad to his daughter. They go on adventures together, play games and make memories doing things like talking with a British accent at Walgreens just for fun. And he loves her bigger than the sky.

It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes when I hear a good story the content itself isn’t that great. In these cases it’s the lesson taken from it that brings it to life.

The lesson I take from today’s story is simple. My response to this woman, and others like her, is the communication version of the Golden Rule. If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all. It’s better that way, especially when what you’re saying isn’t just inaccurate. It is so far from reality, yet that doesn’t make it any bit less painful to the person hearing it. Think before you speak, people. It’s that easy.

 

 

Life Goes On October 17, 2014

It was bound to happen eventually. Like anything else in life, I suppose it was only a matter of time until it did. So I thought I would be ready for it. I thought I would be prepared. I thought wrong.

It was harmless enough, from what I could tell. It was dinnertime around here, and as mom and dad sat down to dinner, mom shared some of her taco salad chicken with dear baby Carter. At nine months old, he has had chicken countless times. He frequently gets samples of what mom and dad eat, while maintaining a healthy balanced diet of organic homemade baby food. He eats better than me, this much is fore sure. (Not to say I don’t get scraps, but that’s another story). Writer's Block?So tonight when mom let him have a few pieces of her taco seasoned chicken, it wasn’t anything that out of the ordinary around here. I stood by, knowing I would likely be lapping up any delicious leftovers that were to spill over the high chair table. My forever family was about two bites into dinner when it happened. 

Carter had his first averse food reaction, presumably from the taco seasoned chicken as that is the only thing he had today that he hasn’t previously enjoyed. Chaos ensued for the better part of an hour as mom researched online and dad gave him a bath and some rash treatment for the little red circles that popped up all over his tiny chin. I’m not going to lie to you – it was a pretty terrifying passage of time around here, with everyone so upset.

But (don’t tell mom I said so) I am also glad it happened. Life tests us in ways we don’t always understand for reasons we may never know. There are things we can’t control along the way. These things happen. And life goes on.

It was bound to happen eventually. And, even though dad questioned the spices being good for Carter, mom tried it anyway. But sometimes we need reminders like these. Because we all are better people for them. And as I knew it would, things are back to normal around here not all that long after all hell broke loose. Everyone is okay. No one is seriously worse for the wear. Life goes on. And that is a beautiful thing.

 

Tiny Little Lines September 16, 2014

I will never forget the day mom and dad found out they were going to have a little person. My forever mom had a suspicion days before it was confirmed, which I could somehow sense. I know there are naysayers when it comes to a dog’s sense of smell, but I completely disagree with every single one of them. I knew before mom did that she was pregnant.Sleep Snuggles

That doesn’t change the magic of that moment for me though. The moment when she woke dad up one chilly spring morning and flung the stick with the tiny little lines on it in his face. “We’re pregnant!” she said. Though somewhat surprised by everything the moment had to offer, dad shared in her enthusiasm after he had appropriate time to digest the information. They were pregnant. They were having a little person. They were going to be parents.

It’s hard to believe that day is almost a year and a half ago already. Dear baby Carter will soon be nine months old (going on three-years-old depending on who you ask). Time flies, but I’ve found there is something that doesn’t. Tiny little lines. From the ground up, they have their way of sticking around well after that pregnancy test if you ask me.

Take today, for example. Carter has taken to cuddling with mom as he falls asleep at night, which (after months of him wanting nothing to do with snuggles) mom was (albeit selfishly) enjoying. But I know because I’ve been there to witness every single book and blog and article she has read on parenting that she doesn’t want to “spoil” him. So tonight, against her better judgment, I watched as she prayed her bedtime prayer with him, rocked him for a minute and put him down. He cried a bit, but fell asleep shortly thereafter, so I know it was harder on mom than it was on him.

But the truth is I also know this is one of many tiny little lines she and dad will have to cross, just as they did the news that they were having a little person all of those months ago. No matter how many books or blogs or articles they read, one thing remains. They are parents now. Ultimately, it’s up to them to define the line and stick to it.

“Boundaries are to protect life, not to limit pleasures,” as Christian author Ed Cole suggested. I don’t know much about them myself, but I from what I do know I definitely agree. Because I never will forget the day mom and dad found out they were pregnant. That was the day they found out the were having a little person.

But beyond that, they were going to be parents. And along with that, there are lots of other days I won’t forget any day soon. Like today, when mom decided that as much as she wanted to snuggle Carter to sleep, it would not be in his best interest to do so. Sometimes it’s not easy to do the right thing. That doesn’t make it any less right.