Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Like Mommy’s Perfume December 3, 2014

I thought it was just a dog thing. I don’t think it’s a secret that us canines do an awful lot of investigating with our noses. We rely on scent to figure out a lot of things people rely on sight for, and our noses are also capable of some pretty powerful things. Like when I knew something was up with mom before she even did when she first was pregnant with dear baby Carter. I have my nose to thank for that.

So the other day when it happened, it definitely caught my attention. While Carter is, for the most part, an angel, he too has his bad days. Days that come as a direct challenge for mom as she spends time trying to soothe him, feed him, get him to nap, etc.

It’s happened a little more frequently lately since recent estimates put his total teeth count up by at least four or five in the next few days. After a particularly taxing emotional day for mom and I (it’s never easy on either of us when there’s a lot of crying involved), dad was consoling an unusually crabby and irritable version of Carter when it happened.

Carter snuggled into dad in the special cuddly way he’s been doing more and more lately and I watched as dad sweetly smelled his little head as he snuggled him close. “Your head smells like mommy’s perfume,” he said, with an unspoken fondness for everything that meant.

It makes sense, of course, that his head would smell like my dear forever mom, since she spent the majority of the day comforting him in any and every way she knew how. So I watched her after she overheard dad say that. I saw the expression on her face as she processed the words. And it might be that she was tired from the long day she had, but I watched as a silent tear fell down her cheek.Buddies

I knew in that moment exactly what she was feeling. Not only because I sometimes think I know her better than I know myself, but because I’ve come to know some new things about my mom since Carter’s been around. That silent little tear was not a tear of sadness. Or exhaustion. Or frustration. It was a tear of joy.

Those simple words were a reminder that everything she did that day was not in vain. Though the crying carried on, she did everything she could to make it stop. And, in reality, she wouldn’t trade the time holding him to calm him down for the world. The time he cried into her chest was special in its own way, I know, because there will be a day when she longs to comfort him and won’t be able to. He will be all grown up and perhaps have children of his own to look after at that point.

That’s why even the most challenging days are worth living. It may take a little sniffing out, but there is always, always, a silver lining.

 

Not-So Little Luxuries September 7, 2013

It’s kind of like counting sheep. It’s my understanding people do this sometimes to calm their minds into falling asleep. This would never calm a canine mind (for obvious reasons) but my method sure does bring me peace. I count my blessings.

The list includes the obvious characters who make up daily life (like mom and dad), as well as the less obvious things (like my special spot under my favorite tree in my backyard). Today I noticed something about the list I couldn’t keep from sharing: it never seems to get shorter. Instead, it seems only to grow to include more of the obvious (and not-so-obvious) luxuries in life.

I recognize this in itself is a blessing, and yet it got me to thinking. What would happen if something fell off the list? What if one of life’s not-so-little luxuries went away for some reason? Which could I not live without?

My constant flow of healthy food and water came to mind, followed closely by their (slightly less necessary) tasty counterparts peanut butter and bacon. And Mr. and Mrs. Prickles. Losing them would be a major problem. But I know my people would never let me go hungry. And (as much as I hate to admit it) Mr. and Mrs. Prickles are indeed replaceable (exhibits A and B: Flea and Angry Bird).  My Comfort Circle of Characters

It wasn’t until later in the day I realized what ties the list together. I tend to think through these things around the same times each day. Morning and evening. Both times have something very important in common. My bed. And I’m not talking about the dog bed in the kitchen. Nor do I understand the appeal of a dog bed (which comes home smelling like a factory) compared to a people bed (which contains all of the smells of our people us dogs long to be near at all times).

My SpotIt was not an easy battle to conquer either. I took mom down first with what I fondly refer to as “the look” combined with my persuasive cuddling skills. Getting dad to agree to the arrangement was a whole other game entirely. I had to be strategic about it. And patient. Until one night (after more than two years of effort on my part) “the look” and my cuddling skills struck again.

Since then I’ve secured my spot in the bed and I will not let it go for all the dog treats in the world. It’s ridiculously comfortable. It smells heavenly. And it’s where I count my blessings at morning and at night. But the more I think about it, I suppose even the bed itself is replaceable at least to a certain extent. Because (as much as it is indeed the coziest bit of people-smelling cloud a dog could ask for) it’s so much more than a bed.

As American screenwriter Francis Ford Coppola reminds us “I like simplicity; I don’t need luxury.” I suppose I don’t need luxury either. I just need my people. It’s that simple. So as I count my blessings tonight from my perch on the bed, I give thanks not for the comfy cloud itself. Rather I give thanks for its representation of the love I have for my people, and their love for me. Ultimately I think that is the luxury I truly could not live without.