Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

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.

 

 

 

With My Love March 5, 2015

It’s supposed to be easier the second time around. I’m supposed to worry less and be less concerned with each and every little thing that happens. And to some extent, I do.

But throughout my dear forever mom’s pregnancy with baby number two, I can’t help it. I care, so I worry. It’s as simple as that. Those who know me say I’ve been especially needy lately, but I’m not sure that’s an accurate portrayal of what is happening in my heart right now. My heart hurts with excitement and anxiety and joy and fear for my forever people, who will bring home a new little person in a few short months.

So I snuggle. Hi Baby

It’s not that unusual for me to assume position on mom’s lap the second dear baby Carter isn’t occupying the space. I still cram myself into the smallest crevice of space next to her on couches and chairs. And today, something happened that made my heart skip a beat.

I felt the baby. I had my head on mom’s tummy as we sat together in the afternoon sun while Carter napped. I was dreaming about something or another when it happened. I felt a kick. And another. And another. It startled me out of my sleep, that’s for sure.

I couldn’t help but feel a bit sentimental about when that happened with Carter all those months ago. It’s crazy to think about now that he’s a frolicking 14-month-old. And even crazier to think about what that tiny kicking little person will look like 14 months from now.

That’s when I realized I am doing it again. I care, so I worry. That’s why it’s not any easier the second time around. I worry now just as much as I did with dear baby Carter. Because she’s my person. My forever mom is just that – and she will always be my world.

I’m cherishing my time with her, and protecting her in the only way I know how. With my love. So what if they call me needy? These are special times around here, and I’m not going to miss a single minute of it.

 

All That Worry March 1, 2015

I guess you could say I’m a sore loser. I’m not ashamed to admit it. The simple truth is I don’t particularly care to engage in things that I don’t think I can excel at. I prefer to quality over quantity anyway.

So you can imagine my dismay when certain things in my life that are completely beyond my control. If I had my way, there would be no worry or stress or anger in the lives of my loved ones. But alas, none of that falls within my realm of reason.The "stuff" and me

Instead I watch as people I care about, namely my forever mom, let things bother her to the point of sleeplessness and restless anxiety. The worry is real, and I don’t fault her for that. Yet things have a way of coming full circle emotionally in such a way that I wish we could just bypass the stress and get right to the relief.

Take the scare mom had with her pregnancy recently. She haunted herself by consulting Dr. Google for answers about something she should have just listened to her doctor about. As a result, she became so blinded by the worst case scenario that hope seemed like a distant memory.

Then this week, she got confirmation from her doctor that everything worked out. The concern is no longer a concern. Cautious optimism has been replaced by relief.

Which leads me to question what the point of worry is in the first place. Or really any negative emotional struggle people face. Hence my constant inner struggle.

Because I can’t control it. I can’t win every battle. And as much as I hate any lose-lose situation, I know we can’t win them all. Fortunately, I also know we don’t have to. So many times I find any battle worth fighting is most likely also a battle worth losing. Life has taught me things have a way of working out in spite of our best efforts to complicate things. So in reality, many of our short-term losses are actually long-term wins. It just takes a little time for us to realize it.

 

 

With the Lamp Lit February 25, 2015

I don’t understand any of it. But I’m a dog, so I think that’s okay. What I do know is all that worry weighing on mom’s heart a couple of weeks ago has been has been lifted slightly. At least for now.

When she left dear baby Carter and I with Aunt Morgan, I could tell her nerves were getting the best of her. I knew wherever she was going something important must be happening. So I wished and hoped and did all I could to send all things positive with her as she left a very upset (very teething) Carter behind to tackle whatever she was about to do. In the Deep End

When she returned home, she was a different person. Even her step looked lighter. (Well, as light as it can be at six months pregnant). I stood by listening anxiously as she filled Morgan in with all kinds of technical medical jargon that went in one ear and out the other. But I didn’t need to understand any of it except for a few precious words.

It’s better than it was, so that’s a good sign.

That’s all I needed to hear to breathe my own sigh of relief.

Meanwhile, I know the journey isn’t over. We are not out of the proverbial woods just yet. Mom gets more information from her doctor on Friday, and I’m hopeful there is more good news. Until then, I shall follow mom’s lead and proceed with caution until at least Friday (if not longer, depending on what the doctor says).

Because while I share in the enthusiasm and overall anticipation to meet this new little person, I do understand he or she shouldn’t be meeting us just yet for health and safety reasons. So we will wait, cautiously, but somehow I knew in my heart what I saw in mom’s eyes today.

Hope. From the ground up, it’s a pretty powerful thing. Christian author Tertullian certainly thought so when he said “hope is patience with the lamp lit.” I don’t need to understand anything about all things medical to know this as truth.

 

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.

 

 

Something out of Nothing February 21, 2015

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 7:13 pm
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It’s happening again. I didn’t think it was possible to be honest with you. Between the blankets and tiny clothes and diapers (so many diapers), I thought my dear forever home was at capacity for all things little people. I think dad thought so too.

But I knew it today as I watched mom patiently piece through various baby things and rearrange and reorganize and clean and rearrange some more. She’s nesting again. She’s caught baby fever and there’s no treatment other than endless trips to baby stores (for nothing in particular) and numerous variations of things in what has become Carter’s old room. Mom and Wiley

My dear baby Carter has transitioned to a much larger room than before, leaving the nursery up for grabs for my second little person. (This happened a few months ago, as it was my understanding my forever parents wanted to make sure he adjusted okay to the new space). The door to his old room has been closed the majority of the time since then, because I think it made mom a little sad to see Carter’s room looking so empty.

Until now. Today was a big day around here. After more than a dozen trips to baby stores and hours of searching and reading reviews online, she has finally made a decision about the bedding. I know it sounds like nothing. But believe me when I tell you, it’s something around here.

I might be the slightest bit biased in saying so as a member of the man’s best friend category, but I can’t help but think perhaps I played a role in the selection of an all things puppy theme once again. I’ve only seen pictures so far, but they look pretty great.

More importantly, mom seems happy. Because it’s happening again. All the decisions about the bedding and the crib set and the layettes and the blankets might not seem like much. But they are something to her. And I know why.

It all stems from something I’ve known in my heart for a while now. The joy in my forever home today confirmed the truth I already knew. Her ability to make something out of nothing is the manifestation of her motherhood. Sure, I know that has nothing to do with finding the perfect sheet set. And deep down so does she.

 

Too Much of a Good Thing February 15, 2015

I’ve got nothing against cats. Or their curiosity. Yet I’ve heard once or twice this thing people say about how curiosity killed the cat. I know it’s just a philosophical anecdote, and therefore falls into a category of phrases I don’t particularly trust.

I also know we canines have our own level of curiosity that can get us into trouble sometimes. In my case, I usually find myself getting into mischief when I blindly follow my nose to places like garbage cans and freshly folded laundry. Those stories never end well for me. Mom and I

Lately, I’ve noticed a similar pattern among some of my dearest loved ones. Except that instead of following their noses, they’ve been following their fingers on a keyboard that leads to nothing but heartbreak and fear. They have brilliant doctors who they trust and yet they are turning to the internet for answers to some of life’s challenging health questions. And I don’t need to understand anything medical to know that is not the right place to turn.

Research, like many good things, can be taken too far. In this case, it is being taken to places where my dear forever mom is put on bed rest and can’t take care of dear baby Carter or the new little person, who may be born too early. Or (gulp) maybe not be born at all if things end badly.

These are all the absolute worst case places that my dear mom has (admittedly somewhat irrationally) allowed the internet to take her mind. And her heavy heart for that matter. All because of a little (albeit serious) complication that’s arisen in her pregnancy with our new little person. A little complication that could just as easily resolve itself in the next few weeks.

I wish I could take the computer away. Because it’s nothing against cats or their curiosity. In her case it’s true. Curiosity can kill the cat. It’s all too easy to head to the worst case place in your head with the help of too much of that good thing called research. Though moderation is never an easy thing for a dog, I can give it the respect it deserves. Now if only I could figure out a way to get mom to do the same.

 

A Little Hug February 9, 2015

People give us dogs a lot of credit. And I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t completely deserved, at least the majority of the time. We have a way of picking up on emotions of our forever people and reacting accordingly. Whether its the small nudge of our nose into the hands of someone who is crying, or a flying leap into the arms of someone who is contagiously happy, we have our ways of relating to our people.

So I suppose I shouldn’t necessarily have been surprised to see what I did today. We have an innate sense for these things, so I guess it makes sense little people would too. But that still couldn’t have prepared me for what I witnessed this afternoon. Love. Unplugged.

Something I don’t fully understand was wrong with my dear forever mom. She got a phone call from her baby doctor and she wasn’t the same afterward. She seemed sad. And scared. Devastated might be an even better word for it.

So I did what any dog would do in reaction to the situation. I wagged and nudged and snuggled my way into that crevice much too small on the chair next to her so she knew it would all be okay. I know in my heart it will be and wished so badly she could know it in her heart too. But all of my efforts were for naught. The tears kept coming.

That is, until my dear little baby Carter intervened. Otherwise known as the toddler tornado, he rarely takes a break to sit still for more than a couple minutes at a time. He’s always on the move. Not today. Not in this moment.

He toddled himself over to the chair we were on and did the thing he does when he wants mom to hold him where he yanks at her scarf and essentially tries to climb her using her clothes. The second she obliged, it was like magic. He put his little head in that special spot by her heart and kept it there for what felt like a really long time to all of us (though I think it may have only actually been about 20 minutes). Time paused and I knew in that moment mom believed it would be okay.

I may be able to read people really well, but I may never understand what was bothering mom today. In that precious bubble in time, I realized that’s beside the point. Because I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that my dear 13-month-old Carter knew mom needed a hug today. Not just any hug either. She needed a little hug only he could give. So he gave it with all his heart, at least until one of the toys in the corner caught his attention and he was off to the races again.

Today he gets the credit. And I’m okay with that.

 

If At First You Don’t Succeed January 27, 2015

Persistence. Determination. Strength. From the ground up, these are some big-picture words in my world. They get you through the valleys and up to the mountains. They push you to the limit. I’ve always been a believer in the British writer W. E. Hickson’s words “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”

It’s a simple thought. And I think it applies to a lot of challenging situations. We all encounter hurdles on our journey through life, and we all fall from time to time. In the short-term, it might be the best thing to do. Happiness.

But in the long-term, I wonder sometimes if it’s really always best to try, try again. Life happens in ways we can’t anticipate sometimes, and I think there can be hurdles that seem to multiply before our eyes.

That was the case for my dear forever mom today. In itself, there was nothing that out of the ordinary that happened. After an incredibly productive morning, her presentation for work this afternoon went off without a hitch. She managed to keep a group of more than 60 middle school students entertained for a half hour immediately following their lunch break. I’d say that is a feat in itself. Everything was great.

Then it happened. Somewhere between answering her work phone for the nineteenth time in a row while finishing up the story she was working on and keeping an eye on the mashed potatoes on the stovetop and trying not to overcook the pork roast in the oven and cleaning up after Carter as he decorated the kitchen floor with pots, pans, lids and tupperware containers and ultimately carrying Carter as she danced around the kitchen because he simply could not stand to be on the floor one more second, she lost it.

Not because of any one thing in particular. The snuggle time from Carter was actually kind of nice. But the sum of the parts got to her in a way I know it wouldn’t have if she weren’t 20 weeks pregnant. She’s firing full speed ahead as if nothing were different, but the truth is it’s starting to catch up with her.

And that’s okay.

It was okay to let that one last phone call go to voicemail. It was okay to save that story to finish for tomorrow. It was okay that dad ran to get takeout because the potatoes somehow got overcooked and the pork was undercooked. It was okay that (for once) the kitchen and rest of the house were a complete mess when dad got home from that place called work. It was okay.

Because persistence, determination and strength can only take us so far sometimes. Limits are real, and need to be respected for a reason. If at first you don’t succeed, it’s okay to try again tomorrow instead of today. In some cases it’s better.

Like today, when dad finally convinced mom to just stop. To take a breath. And sit down. And snuggle dear Carter. And tomorrow we will try, try again.

 

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.