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.


Sisterhood of the Traveling Dog September 10, 2014

I’ve never really known what it meant. Or what it takes. To be a sibling takes emotional effort that I am not unwilling to offer, but it is a role I just have never really been presented with an opportunity to properly honor.

Sure, I had my brothers before I lost them that day when I also lost my birth mom all of those years ago. But we didn’t really know brotherhood at that age. We were young, puppies, and we had no idea what such a thing really meant. I thought maybe I understood it when I lived at my first adoptive home with all of those other dogs and cats. But that wasn’t quite right either. Then something happened when dear baby Carter was born.Snuggles With Auntie Morgan

Not only did I inherit a puppy brother I’m still figuring out, but I learned a few things about what it means to be a sibling. It started the very first night dear Carter came home when mom and dad were completely and utterly overwhelmed. I think it probably happens to any and every parent that first night or two when they bring their new little person home. Shock. The reality of what it really means to be overtired. Confusion. And, at the heart of it all, love. For this little life and all the change it means for the family, as well as for life itself.

My people felt none of that love that first night. All they felt was complete and utter exhaustion. So when they called mom’s sister Morgan to the rescue, I was not surprised. I knew my abilities to help were limited and  I was frankly more than relieved upon her arrival. She stayed with Carter and I while mom and dad caught a half hour or two of sleep. She cuddled Carter and I cuddled her.

I was reminded of those moments tonight when mom was rocking Carter to sleep. She was stroking his hand in a way that seemed to make him relax, which I later learned is somewhat a trade secret of hers. It’s something she used to do for her baby sister way (way) back when to help her sleep. She would rub her silky smooth little hand way longer than necessary just to make sure she was really and truly asleep. She thought of this tonight as she did the same on Carter’s soft little hand.

It all made me think that maybe I know more than I thought I did about what it means to be a sibling. The emotional effort I thought I’d never really understood? Maybe I know it better than I thought I did. Because I know true and unconditional love. I know what that looks like. And I’m not going to lie. From the ground up, when that kind of love is applied to the sibling life, it all sounds pretty special to me.