Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

I’ll Be Missing You September 24, 2014

It sounded so silly when I heard it out loud. Because when it comes to routine, I’m a number one fan. I think a lot of other four-legged friends would agree that structure is the way to go. But today I heard mom say something that confused me at first.

She was talking with dad about how it is possible for routine to get in the way of relationships. Habits, and all they encompass, can sometimes be a bad thing. At the root of her concern was mention of the idea that you can see someone frequently and still miss them. There are a variety of contributing factors to the aforementioned breakdown in communication, and not all of them are bad. 

Take, for instance, my mom and her sister (fondly known as Aunt Morgan). Since I’ve been part of this family, mom and Morgan have spent a lot of time apart, while Morgan lived in a different part of the state. That changed about a year ago, when she moved back to town into an apartment a mere five minutes or so away from my forever home. And when dear baby Carter was born, she was our biggest source of support from day one. She brought to life the idea of being there for someone (or in our case someones), spending countless hours caring for Carter while mom caught up on housework, ran errands, or snuck in a quick nap.

To this day, she is over here a few days a week, albeit not for extended periods of time, but her presence is welcome. Yet, while there is no absence of presence, mom told dad today that she misses her.

It sounded so silly when I heard it out loud. It didn’t make sense to me at first. But the more I thought about it, the more alive the idea became. I think it is entirely possible to get so caught up in routine and schedules and errands and chores that you can end up missing everything a relationship has to offer. Like companionship, ridiculous laughter, and all kinds of other shenanigans that breathe life into the structure. I get it now.

And now that it makes sense to me, I decided to recommit to the relationships in my life. To respecting routine, but not letting it get in the way what really matters. Relationships. From the ground up, they are the world’s most complex puzzle. But I’ll figure it all out someday, I promise.

 

Reach For the Stars September 6, 2013

I saw a shooting start last night. And I made a wish. But I can’t tell you that or it won’t come true.

I can tell you it was a night to remember. My mom took me along to grandma’s house, which is exciting on its own without the surprise that awaited me. Alas, my aunt was visiting from out of town so that means my usual source of attention (my mom) had just multiplied by three (to include my grandma and my aunt).

When You WishMy cousin Buddy was there too, so we wrestled and chased and engaged in our epic dog staring contests (all of which I reigned victorious). I scored a whole bunch of people food treats, including the residual ice cream from my aunt’s dessert plate. Amidst everything I was busy doing, I noticed the upbeat conversation focused on all things baby. Everything from how mom is feeling to baby name brainstorming was on the table for discussion.

And as much as I enjoyed all of this, the best part came later. The air was cool and quiet as all five of us sat outside and stared at the night sky. The great and powerful “they” say us canines can smell fear. But that’s not the only thing we can sense. In the silence of these precious moments I smelled joy. I could feel it like a cloud hovering like a protective blanket around us.

I’m generally not a noisy dog (other than when I bark protectively at any and every animal on the television – live or animated, canine or reptile), but in that moment I felt an instinctual desire to howl at the moon. Not because I wanted to communicate with other dogs as part of a hunt. Not because I was left outside too long. Rather because I wanted to share the overwhelming sense of joy I had in that moment I saw the shooting star.

I still can’t tell you what I wished for, but I can tell you this much about wishcraft. “The world needs dreamers and the world needs doers. But above all, the world needs dreamers who do,” Sarah Ban Breathnach writes in Simple Abundance. “Don’t just entrust your hopes an wishes to the stars. Today begin learning the craft that will enable you to reach for them.”

 

I’m So Jealous May 23, 2013

I heard overheard my grandma on the phone today re-living a moment of my forever mom’s life as a little person that is too good not to share. I’m not sure who she was talking to, but my ears perked up at the mention of my mom’s name and I remained a captive audience through the end of the adorable story.

So Jealous

When my mom was a little more than three people years old, she learned she would soon become a big sister. Not knowing much about what that meant, my mom’s biggest fear was that her parents wouldn’t love her as much now that they had to share their love with another little person. She tried her best to mask these feelings, but let’s face it – toddlers aren’t the best at keeping secrets.

But as time went on, her understanding of the word that described her emotions (jealousy) was somehow painted into a much different emotional dimension. My mom heard countless conversations with people who referred to her as if she wasn’t present and actively listening to the conversation. “How is she doing with jealousy?” people asked. “Is she good at sharing?” “Is she getting jealous during all the excitement of planning and preparation?”

Nine months later, when her little sister was born, all concern vanished instantly as she was overcome with emotion. “I’m so jealous,” she said to her baby sister as she stroked her tiny little head with the sincerest look of love in her eyes. The meaning of the word was lost on her three-year-old mind, but she’d heard it so frequently throughout the course of the recent months that she confused it for another word entirely. To her, jealous didn’t mean something negative, but rather was equivalent to joy, happiness and love.

Again, the mind of a little person lights the way to a better, brighter (albeit confused) outlook on life. Optimist or otherwise, t’s no secret to the world that attention is probably one of my favorite things. So much so that I love any and every opportunity to be played with, walked, petted, cuddled with, or any similar activity that provides me the role of being center of attention.

Yet I know in my little doggie heart that someday, if I ever become a big brother to a little person in my forever home, I will be able to abdicate my proverbial attention throne and take on a new role as protector to the newest keeper of wisdom in the house. I know it might be tough at first, just like it was for my mom and her little sister, but I too hope to one day as I look down at the little person and think to myself with nothing by love in my heart how jealous I am.