Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

You Are My Sunshine October 19, 2013

I learned some things today. Until today a shower has always been that thing in the bathroom where my people clean themselves. And the sun has always been that bright thing that rises and sets upon each day. It turns out there is more to these words than meets the eye.

The day began like most Saturdays, with my forever people doing chores and various tasks around the house following slightly more family cuddle time than usual. Except today they both kept talking about the shower. I didn’t understand it. It felt like every other word was shower and by noon I was incredibly confused. I remained in a quandary when they left me to go to the shower. It’s right here, I screamed in silence, in the bathroom.Sunshine

So you can imagine my stupor when they returned home a few hours later with presents. Lots of them. And (as is the case with most misunderstandings) it turns out I was missing a very important piece of the contextual puzzle. This shower wasn’t like the one in the bathroom. It was a baby shower, which I now understand to be a shower of gifts to help us all prepare for the arrival of my little person.

Mom and dad shared stories of the afternoon while they revisited each of the gifts. The story that stuck with me most was of two of my favorite little people (Sophie and Abigail) singing a song I hold dear to my heart with my mom’s friend Dorian.

“You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me happy when skies are gray…you’ll never know dear how much I love you. Please don’t take my sunshine away.”

Once I got over the initial disappointment of missing the in-person show, these famous words (by Jimmie Davis and Charles Mitchell) sunk a little deeper into my heart. As I sat by watching my people I was overcome with my own sense of gratitude for the situation.

They are my sunshine. My forever people will never know how much I love them, partially because I can’t say so out loud and partially because you can’t put love this big into words. And (at least from what I can tell) amongst the blankies and diapers the greatest gift of all was the love they received today.

I guess you could say they were showered with love. And I was overcome with joy. From the ground up, it was a pretty happy day around here. All of the clouds in the sky could not mask the sunshine in these moments. Joy and gratitude filled their hearts and I realized that is all the sunshine I really need.

I learned some things today. It turns out there is much more to showers and sunshine than meets the eye. Today these words did much more. They touched the heart.

 

From Rags to Riches August 17, 2013

It started with a collar. It had little candy corns on it, and my mom bought it at the Menomonee Falls Pet Fair three years ago today. She had yet to actually have a dog in her life, and she was told this was bad luck. It’s bad karma to buy things for a best friend you’ve yet to meet, people told her (as if she was going to somehow jinx the search).

Here’s the thing: she had already met her best friend. She had met me a few days earlier. She knew she loved me at first sight. But her and dad’s first visit to me was so late in the day the shelter wouldn’t allow them to take me home that same day. I knew she’d be back, but I didn’t learn until later that she almost wasn’t.

Since I had been previously returned, the people at Oshkosh Humane Society were particularly cautious throughout my adoption process to ensure this would be the right family. To ensure I wouldn’t be returned again. They didn’t like that mom and dad were a young couple who would likely be having children in the near future. They didn’t like that dad had never had a dog before. They said they feared my soon-to-be forever people were just falling in love with a cute face and weren’t prepared for the behavioral handful I could be.

Mom didn’t take any of this very well. She saw it as a direct attack on her ability to be a good doggie parent, and perhaps even a good little people parent. Apparently she and dad even resigned to the point they went to meet another terrier mix named Ariel at a different shelter.

The collar would have fit Ariel too. But dad wouldn’t have that. Meeting Ariel did nothing but prove to him that I was the one they were meant to rescue. So he called the people at the Oshkosh Humane Society, told them they were being harsh, and took me home about a week later. He fought for me and no amount of cuddles, kisses, or tail wags will ever thank him enough for that.

Sporting my new tieEver since I was adopted mom takes me to that fair every third Saturday in August. It’s kind of our thing. So you can imagine my disdain when she and dad left this morning to run errands (which must not be any fun at all since I’m almost never invited along for them) and didn’t return until mid-afternoon. I was certain she forgot by that point and (to be honest) I was the slightest bit heartbroken. I understand that forgetfulness can happen during pregnancy, but I didn’t want to believe it. She couldn’t possibly forget our tradition.

Thank goodness dad reminded her. It’s never been his cup of tea, but he knows it’s important to us and he didn’t want the day to go by without us honoring our tradition. He fought for me again, which I realized today he does so often in so many different ways.

It started with a collar. And it ends with a tie. (Thanks to dad’s gentle reminder), mom and I had a fabulous time as we always do, and (in addition to all sorts of dog treats) I got a couple of doggie neck ties. There was a time in my life I didn’t know where my next meal was coming from, and now people love me enough to fight for me and take me to pet fairs and buy me neck ties (of all crazy things). Collars, neck ties, and dog treats aside, I would say that makes me one of the very richest doggies in the whole wide world.

 

Such A Loney Word August 4, 2013

I think it’s called nesting. And apparently it’s normal. But I have to admit, the way my people are acting this weekend has thrown me for a loop. It reminds me of that Saturday a couple of months ago when they moved around all the furniture. Except now instead of moving things around, they can’t stop talking about all this new stuff.

Crib, changing table, pack and play…I’ve never heard of any of these things before recently. Yet I’ve managed to gather that a crib is like my doggie bed, changing table is like outside, and a pack and play sounds like a place I can’t wait to investigate. Not to mention the conversations about all of these things seem to get mom and dad pretty excited. I can hear it in their voices, see it in their eyes and even feel it in their heartbeats. They are thrilled, and I’m thrilled to be a part of it all. Dont Worry, Be Happy

So I didn’t care much for the direction of the conversation today when they got back from a place called Babies ‘R Us. All of the excitement had been replaced with fear and apprehension. About being good parents. About giving the baby everything. About money. Whether our forever home is big enough. They weren’t exactly fighting, but the conversation still made me uncomfortable.

As usual, I wished I could interrupt to remind them of how blessed we are to have each other. To have a roof over our heads. To be alive.

They got there on their own eventually but it felt like it took forever. It’s all relative, dad said. The more you make, the more you pay for things. It goes both ways. And jealousy never does anyone any good. It’s a very lonely word that doesn’t merit any emotional energy. Not when we’re blessed with so much already.

“It is not love that is blind, but jealousy,” British novelist and poet Lawrence Durrell suggested. Well, fortunately for all of us the cloud of blindness has been lifted as the conversation returned to things like cribs, changing tables and pack and plays. I guess it’s called nesting. And (even though it all sounds a bit like a foreign language to me right now) it’s music to my little doggie ears.

 

A Saturday Soundtrack February 23, 2013

Today my neurotic’s notebook takes a page from American journalist Mignon McLaughlin, who said “a sense of humor is a major defense against minor troubles.” I’ve written about the joy that happens in my home on Saturdays, so I thought I would set it to a soundtrack for anyone interested in a lighthearted salute to today’s daily prompt.

If I were to set a Saturday in the Schmidt household to a soundtrack, I suppose it would play like this.

(Disclaimer: These have all inspired previous (and future) blog posts, so I apologize in advance for any repetition).Dancing to Life's Soundtrack

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KkkFYHXlX-c
Track One: Tell Me A Story, Phillip Phillips.
Dear Phillip Phillips. A lyrical hero of mine, he inspires me with his words frequently. This is one of my favorites from his album “Man on The Moon.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AfsS3pIDBfw
Track Two: Hands, Jewel
Human hands are capable of such bad things. I embrace only the good.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVOu47ib9s8
Track Three: Answer, Sarah McLaughlin
This one gets me every time. https://wileyschmidt.wordpress.com/2012/12/29/my-answer-i-sleep-smiling/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y2SfmcNg8js
Track Four: I Hope You Dance, LeAnn Womack
I love to dance. Did you know that about me?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=84Ns6ouwO1g
Track Five: Peggy Sang the Blues, Frank Turner
A recent favorite, this song recently inspired a blog entry about my perspective that all forward motion counts.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J6ZWlDks0nQ
Track Six: Paradise, Coldplay
Forget hindsight. I prefer paradise.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vT2fM3-seUE
Track Seven: Life In Slow Motion, David Gray.
A reminder to stop and appreciate life’s special moments. https://wileyschmidt.wordpress.com/2013/02/18/life-in-slow-motion/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nm-1xvWibt0
Track Eight: Isn’t It Ironic? Alanis Morissette
I had to. 🙂 https://wileyschmidt.wordpress.com/2013/01/17/isnt-it-ironic-a-pause-amidst-lifes-symphony/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aw14mwAp5oM
Track Nine: Hard Times, EastMountainSouth
Hard times come again no more. Simple as that.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u0aauXOx120
Track Ten: Free Bird, Lynyrd Skynyrd
As seen in one of my favorite movies, Elizabethtown

Please note: I do not own rights to any of these videos. They were all shared from YouTube.

 

Down So Long? Look Up.

Feast or Famine?Love in a dog’s life is feast or famine at times. Please do not misunderstand: this is not to say I am ever short on love in my forever home. It’s just that sometimes, it overwhelms me while at others it is a whisper quietly reminding me of its presence.

Today, like most Saturdays, it overwhelms me. Most Saturdays in the Schmidt household start the same. It is a day’s break from the routine when my mom and dad both go away all day to this zany place called work. Instead, they sleep an extra hour or two, and when they wake we all engage in something I’ve heard my mom call a love fest.

It sounds more ridiculous than it is, but these precious weekend morning moments are what get me through the long weekdays when mom and dad are away. I would prefer they not be aware of the severe separation anxiety I feel when they are away during the week. It gets a little easier with time, but there is always this ghost in my mind reminding me that maybe they will never come back and I will end up on the streets lonely and unloved again. I was down so long it’s still way too easy to go back there in my mind.

Then Saturdays come along, as if God wants to remind me of how lucky I have it and how silly I am to doubt my blessings. Instead I count them. A Saturday starts with far more pets than usual from both mom and dad. They take extra time to talk to me, tell me they love me, and (best of all) say how much they love each other. Saturday mornings are joy, from the ground up.

At first, I hesitated to share these private precious moments with the world, as I know how comical it might sound to an outsider. But never have I withheld my truest of truths, and I don’t intend to start that silliness now. A dog’s tale never lies.

Love, at times, is feast or famine. It can overwhelm my spirit in the most surprisingly cumbersome ways. But I think it’s that way for people sometimes too. I’ve seen people in my life be completely overwhelmed with love in the purest of life’s moments. These are the moments that bring joy to life. These are the moments for people who have been down too long to look up.