Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

What You Wish For February 12, 2015

It happens with the laundry and the cooking and the cleaning and (as crazy as it sounds) sometimes even the diaper changing.

Sometimes I wish I could help out more around my forever home. It would definitely qualify as something I feel the slightest bit guilty about. And it happens pretty regularly around here, especially since dear baby Carter was born.

I know I help with things like my remarkable charm and the unique ways I find to bring my kind of joy into every day. But I often wish I could do more. Sunshine

Most recently it happened last night. After all that talk about the silver lining of exhaustion yesterday, I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised when the inevitable happened. For no good reason at all, no one slept well around here last night.

The usually sound-sleeping Carter woke four times throughout the night. My theory is twice he just wanted reassurance that mom and dad were there. The other two times he was hungry.

My dear forever mom didn’t sleep well either. I suppose being 22 weeks pregnant might have something to do with that.

And then there’s dad. He doesn’t sleep well when mom doesn’t sleep well. And the crying woke them both up every time. But when it happened at 2:03 a.m., precisely 8 minutes after mom finally fell asleep, it wasn’t even a question.

Dad took care of it. He went and got a bottle ready and grabbed a very upset Carter out of his crib to feed him before mom could get out of bed. I think I may have been as thankful as mom to see it happen, because it was one of those times I wished more than anything I could help.

 

Teamwork. From the ground up, it’s not always easy. I know dad was as tired as the rest of the family in that moment. But that’s how it goes sometimes. And as much as it might bother me that I can’t help around here in more practical ways, I know in my heart I do my part in the ways I can.

I’ll never be able to do the laundry or dishes or help calm a crying baby in the night. But I love my forever family unconditionally and for me at least that will always be enough.

 

You Just Wait March 12, 2014

Apparently it’s one of those things parents say to each other. Like the never ending piece of advice stuck on repeat in the CD player. And while I’m usually all for taking in and putting to practice any piece of advice or wisdom, this has (of late) been one of my least favorite tracks. You just wait.

When my forever mom was up all night because baby Carter was beat boxing on her ribs, people told her. You just wait. After he was born and he was sleeping in teeny tiny increments of time, people told her. You just wait. Even now, when he’s starting to interact with the world in both smiles and experimental cries, people tell her. You just wait. Cuddles

And I will tell you. Each and every time someone says this, I watch as she visibly tenses up and I know better than anyone else what she’s thinking. YOU just wait. Because here’s the thing about unsolicited advice and wisdom. It’s great when it means something positive. And it’s even all right when it means something negative, as long as it’s delivered in the right way. But even when you’re a boy dog who will never in a million years understand the mystery of birth, I can hear it.

There is something grating about hearing someone imply things will get worse before they will get better. It doesn’t matter if its family life, work life, personal life, or whatever sort of life path you’re on – it just plain sucks to hear even the slightest implication of things being worse on the horizon.

That is, until you live it. I know it grated on my mom’s nerves when people told her to “just wait” for what sleep would be like after the baby was born. I know it the same as I know things will only be getting more complicated from here as Carter figures out his emotions. Happy and sad. Love and hate. Chaos and peace. You just wait.

It’s a track that has been stuck on repeat far too long around here. And yet I know its one we need to hear. Not necessarily as its intended from its various unsolicited advisors. Because tone has no place in true wisdom. Instead I would rather cherish the good things that come to those who “just wait.” I cherish the first full night’s sleep my people have had in a while. And these first smiles that are happening on purpose. And that look of recognition when mom and dad talk and he seems calmed by their voices.

As one who has just waited, I can definitely confirm a certain and undeniable truth. It’s always worth the wait.

 

The Diaper Change Fiasco January 16, 2014

I thought for a second I was in a dream. But I definitely was not. What was happening was real. And it kind of freaked me out. Last night somewhere in the wee hours, dad picked me up out of bed, held me like a baby, and attempted to put me in something I’ve heard called a changing table.

“Dang, you’re heavy,” he half-stammered in his sleepy state. That’s when I figured it out. He thought I was Carter. He had mistaken all 20 pounds of terrier that I am for his child and was about to change my nonexistent diaper. I couldn’t have that (any more than I could wear such a diaper contraption), so I wiggled my way out of that situation right quick.Peace.

It wasn’t until morning that it all paid off for me. It happened as dad retold the story to mom, who miraculously managed to sleep through the whole escapade. Laughter. From the ground up, it rejuvenated our weary hearts this morning.

Because let’s face it. It’s rough right now. My people are (clearly) overtired. They aren’t sleeping. Their clock revolves around Carter, and my clock revolves around them. And it’s quite honestly a little frustrating since there really isn’t too much I can do to help with anything. And I know in reality it really wasn’t anything I did that caused the laughter. My warm little body was just in the right place at the right moment. I even thought for a second I was in a dream. But I definitely was not.

“Back of every mistaken venture and defeat is the laughter of wisdom, if you listen,” American author Carl Sandburg suggested. What happened this morning was real, mistaken venture that it was. I’m so glad I listened for the aftermath. Because sometimes it just helps to laugh. Out loud. At yourself. It helps to stop and listen for the healing wisdom the laughter brings. Even if you are mistaken for a newborn baby in the process.

**No dogs or babies were harmed in the making of this completely true story**

 

Lighting the Way January 12, 2014

It’s official. I think my people are losing their minds. Maybe it’s because of the lack of sleep. I can’t be sure. All I know is there is a new nighttime Sleep, Don't Weeproutine in the Schmidt household and I’m not sure what to make of it.

It actually starts during the day, with all kinds of loud noises, open windows and bright lights. Then at 8:30 sharp, they shut off all the lights and put baby Carter in a dark room away from any televisions or other noises. They speak to each other (and me) in hushed tones and I get scolded even more than usual for barking at animals on the television (which admittedly is one of my more unusual quirks).

Apparently it’s to do with the baby’s days and nights being flip flopped. Daytime to us is nighttime to him, so to attempt to get him on track with what my people refer to as a “normal” schedule. Tonight was the second swing at this new way of things, and I’m not sure how it will go.

Because the baby will probably do his own thing anyway. So to me it feels a bit like flipping a coin. And I found that frustrating at first because there’s really nothing I can do to help. Except there is. I don’t think my people are losing their minds. But I do think they need me now more than ever to remind them to seek out joy. From the ground up, it’s always there even when we lose our way.

 

To Save The Day October 8, 2013

It was 3 a.m. And it was kind of like that moment when you wake up from a really bad dream you’re convinced is real only to breathe a sigh of relief when you look around and realize it wasn’t. Except I didn’t wake up. I was already awake. And it was really happening.

Joy to the RescueMom was crying. Sobbing, really. For no reason in particular other than the unique combination of pregnancy hormones and the exhaustion that follows four sleepless nights in a row. If I didn’t know better, I’d thought my new little person had somehow been born and was having a full out temper tantrum in the middle of the night. That’s kind of what it sounded like. And nothing rips at my heart more than when my people cry.

It’s a foreign concept to me, this whole not being able to sleep thing. Let’s be honest – I probably spend about 75% of my time dreaming. (I call it dreaming since I dream as much when I’m awake as when I’m asleep). I never have a problem falling asleep. Heck, I’ve even been known to fall asleep standing up.

So you can imagine my confusion lately with mom’s complete inability to sleep. I wish more than anything there would be something I could do to help. But somewhere between midnight and 3 a.m. last night I realized sometimes you just can’t. Sometimes there really isn’t anything you can do. At least not in that moment. So I waited.

When mom came home from that place called work over her lunch break today I was ready. Waiting. Armed with the best kind of ammunition a dog can have. I jumped, I licked, I wagged and I showered her with all the love I felt in that moment. And that’s when she said it.

“Wiley, you know just how to cheer a person out of a funk, you know that?” As a self-proclaimed ambassador of joy from the ground up, you can imagine the burst of pride that surged through me in that moment. Success! It doesn’t get much more simple than that. I might not be able to save the night, but at least I can save the day.