Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Like Riding A Bike August 11, 2013

I blame my fairly parent-free puppyhood. My dad left my mom before I met him, and I lost my mom way too early. But that doesn’t excuse my selfish thinking lately. We canines love unconditionally and selflessly after all. Hard as it may be to admit, everything is not about me. There’s a nervous energy in the Schmidt home lately. It makes sense, with a baby on the way and all. But I realized today we have more than that in common. I’ve been pretty selfish, haven’t I?

I’ve been going about this (soon-to-be) big brother gig all wrong. I’ve been so worried about being a good big brother I didn’t think twice about how my people must be feeling about becoming parents. Parents. Yes, that is definitely a bigger deal than being a brother. Sure, all parts make a family whole. But being parents is one of life’s most excitingly terrifying miracles.

This all became startlingly obvious to me today when my parents were agreeing how much they miss biking together this summer. My regularly accident-prone mom is playing it safe staying away from the two-wheel balancing beam just in case her evolving center of gravity should befall her. And I noticed nerves in their conversation that I’ve been seeing a lot more of lately. No More Nerves

I wished I could jump in to remind them my mom didn’t learn how to ride a bicycle until her 27th birthday. It’s not really my confession to make, but I don’t think she’d mind. She grew up like any other child in every other way, but riding a bike was not part of her particular childhood story. I remember the day well.

She and dad came home with an air of excitement us dogs can sense in less obvious things like racing heartbeats and quicker breathing patterns. With them they brought a contraption I learned later was called a bicycle. I didn’t care for this new toy as it seemed to have a directly inverse relationship to my walks around the neighborhood. Instead of taking a walk with me, she would go off on a bike ride with dad.

Bike rides aren’t like car rides. No dogs are allowed on bike rides. But it seemed to bring them both joy, so I gradually let my feelings of disdain subside. Now it’s time to do the same with my nerves about being a big brother.

Because I saw it again today. Mom is already mothering the baby by staying away from something she enjoys that could put him or her in danger. Dad was an excellent (and incredibly patient) teacher with mom learning to ride a bike. Instead of catching the nervous contagion, I should be focusing my energy on reinforcing for my forever family the truth. They’ve already been parents. For three years, they’ve been the best parents a doggie could ask for. I don’t know what they’re so nervous about.

 

Wise Beyond Their Years March 16, 2013

To him, my name is Wall-e. He doesn’t much appreciate when I try to hug him when I see him. Nor does he like when I confuse his plush horse toy for Mr. Prickles. I know he didn’t like it when I pulled him to the ground when we were walking to the park together for the first time. But three-year-old David loves me anyway, and I love that about him.  On the Jungle Gym

I remember the moment when I first knew we were bound to be buddies for life. It was about a year ago, and  we were walking to the playground and mom had let him hold my leash. It went fine for a bit, until I saw a neighbor dog and flipped out a little. All right, all right, I flipped out a lot. I pulled my poor little new friend to the ground. Don’t worry, it wasn’t hard enough to hurt him, but it was definitely hard enough that I will never forgive myself for losing control like that. He looked at me with his big brown eyes and I could see the confusion on his face.

“Why did you hurt me Wall-e?” he asked. I wished at that moment I could scream that I didn’t mean it, and that I felt terrible. If anything, I wanted to impress him so he’d want to be my pal. So you can imagine my surprise at what he said a few minutes later when we were about to go down the slide together at the playground.

“I forgive you Wall-e,” two-year-old David said, “and I love you.” Honesty is such a priceless treasure, and I realized how priceless it is to me on our journey back to the playground about one year later. He still doesn’t care for my doggie hugs (not to be confused with bear hugs), but I could see it in his eyes today: he really does love me.

Walking to the Playground

If I ever got to spend some time with a big group of school children, I would tell them to cherish their innocence and imagination. I don’t care if they don’t listen or don’t believe me: they need to hear it. So much can be learned from a little person’s perspective on the world. The sky is the limit for imagination. Love comes easy. Forgiveness is never questioned. Want to know about living the high life? Well, from what I can tell it happens between the people ages of about 2 and 8. But it doesn’t have to stop there.

I don’t care that he calls me Wall-e. It doesn’t bother me (too much) that he doesn’t like my hugs. (I mean, who doesn’t like a doggie hug!?) I can move past the misunderstanding about his plush horse toy. But I love him because he loves me. And I will never stop learning from the little people in my life. They are wise beyond their years.