Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

A Special Kind of Silver Lining March 7, 2015

Eight straight hours. That is how long dear baby Carter was awake today. It might not sound like much to the average person, but around here (to our beloved 14-month-old) it was an eternity. Because while there was some playtime and laughter, there was mostly crying and tears. Lots of tears.

It was the first time since he was little that my forever dad was around for a full day of it. More often than not, people ask “is he always like this?” when they encounter Carter’s smiley charming self. Today, it was his complete emotional breakdown that had dad asking mom “is he always like this?” Challenge

The answer is obviously no. Sure, he has his good days and bad days. We all do. But today was definitely want of the really bad no good terribly awful days that unfortunately do happen every once in a while.

I watched as my dear people went through all the usual emotional phases. Helplessness prevailed throughout, especially for dad, who is far less used to coping with an hour (or two) of crying at a time than mom and I. From my best guess, it was a battle between Carter and teething pain, and poor Carter was losing by a landslide.

Then it happened. After eight straight hours of primarily emotional turmoil (for all of us, not just Carter), he fell asleep. I watched as his swollen eyes closed just above what had developed throughout the day into a painfully crimson nose. He was on dad’s shoulder when it happened.

It was the first time since he was little that dad held him like that. I’d say seven or eight months have gone by since it last happened. But that is where he wanted to be, and none of us questioned it. So there we were, the four of us, in the soft glow of the afternoon sunlight, silent and watching as Carter finally gave in to the necessity of sleep.

Somehow everything that had happened in the last eight hours seemed inconsequential.

It took time. And lots of tears. And it’s nothing I would wish to happen to anyone again any time soon. But in its own unique way, it forced us all to be still. And be together. That is its own kind of special silver lining in my book.

 

 

 

A Season for Giving November 17, 2014

Some stories are meant to be told. I stumbled across one today in a conversation I overheard between mom and dad over dinner. Mom spoke with a woman today who volunteers at a local toy shop that is sourced by a toy drive around the holiday season.

The drive benefits struggling local families who may not be able to afford toys for their children for Christmas. The woman mom spoke with didn’t know what to expect when she volunteered last year, so what happened changed her heart forever.

There was a woman who was getting a couple of books for her children. When she brought them to the volunteer to check out (so to speak), she was crying. Upon initiation of conversation with this woman, the volunteer asked about her children and reassured her they would love the gifts she picked out for them. That’s when the tears really started rolling. Whether her children would like the books was not her concern.The New Look

“No, no, it’s not you,” the woman said. “I’m just so excited to have something to read to my children.”

I’m just so excited to have something to read to my children. Please understand, this is coming from your resident rescued doggie optimist. I’ve lived life as a have and a have not. I know not to take things for granted. But reading is implied. It seems obvious to me. That is until I heard this story.

What a fabulous reminder not only what the season is about, but what sincere giving is about. What living with purpose is about. What paying it forward is about.

Some stories are meant to be shared. What is yours?

 

The Truth About The Worst Case September 2, 2014

It’s a little tough for me to wrap my optimistic doggie mind around. To be entirely honest, it’s hard for me to understand how my otherwise positive-thinking mom can even feel this way. Yet she does and I know she has her reasons.

Lately mom has been going through this negative thinking phase in her life. Everything (and I mean everything) is the worst case scenario. Truth be told, it’s tough to watch. Me

If something happens with Carter (he hits his head, cries differently, or basically does anything out of the ordinary), the computer, phone and tablet are instantly all in use searching to make sure he’s okay. She is way more tough than she should be on her post-knee reconstruction surgery and post-baby body. She had a bad dream (or I guess you could say nightmare) the other night about something terrible happening to me. She frequently talks about what emotional turmoil she would/will be in one day if/when my dear forever dad leaves for heaven because he is seven years older than her and because men die seven years sooner than most women that means she will be alone for at least 14 years.

It’s exhausting. Even for me, a doggie that has been through my fair share of things in life. But even thinking about that, I am forced to remember why she might be this way.

Five years ago, she lost a job she loved and her dad died suddenly within two weeks. Given the world of hardship and loss we live in, it might not sound like much. She knows and respects and understands people lose a lot more in one fell swoop all the time. Or they were never fortunate enough to have anything so special to lose in the first place. And, while I know her heart is with these people, I know (and see) the emotional aftermath on an almost daily basis.

It might be tough for me to wrap my optimistic doggie mind around, I understand she has her reasons almost as much as I see the progress she’s made. I know things were bothering her today. I know she had all kinds of negative thoughts running through her head. But she paused and found joy in life moments. She sat on the floor and had a (baby) talk with Carter when she got home from that place called work. Dinner was (for a change) not quite perfect, but she and dad got a good laugh about it regardless. And when the time came for our daily love fest tonight, she was 100% present for that too.

I know life can be tough. I know the worst can happen. But I guess what I learn from my dear forever mom is that even the worst case scenario isn’t really the worst. There are better things in the future. You just have to believe.

 

Light Will Guide Me Home June 7, 2014

I don’t know much about the people thing called money. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – when it comes to all things green stuff, I’m pretty clueless. Maybe it’s that I don’t see colors all that well. But I do know it can’t buy happiness. It doesn’t truly “fix” anything.

I thought of it as mom sang dear baby Carter his favorite lullaby today. It might sound silly, but he loves this song. I think it’s because mom does, but (the way I see it) that’s how it should be. It started because mom was overtired in those early days when Carter came home and couldn’t remember a typical lullaby. There are a whole bunch she could have sang to him, but she chose this one. And five months later, it still seems to do the trick.

“When you try your best, but you don’t succeed,” croons Coldplay’s Chris Martin in “Fix You,” “When you get what you want but not what you need. When you feel so tired but you can’t sleep, stuck in reverse. When the tears come streaming down your face. When you lose something you can’t replace. When you love someone but it goes to waste, could it be worse? Lights will guide you home and ignite your bones and I will try to fix you.”

It’s the same Coldplay favorite mom and dad danced to last the night they were married. And it had taken on a whole new meaning now, thanks (I think) primarily to the lack of sleep referenced early in the song. But also thanks to the tears.

ChallengeThey happen around here from time to time. And If I thought mom (or dad’s very occasional) tears ripped my dear little doggie heart out, I had no idea what to expect. Carter’s tears, especially in those early days, tore my little doggie heart to pieces. I wanted nothing more than to do exactly as that Coldplay song said. I wanted to fix it.

While his moments of sheer and complete terror to the point of the kind of tears of the early days have gotten few and far between, I often seek refuge in the dark cover of the basement when it happens. But today as mom sang those words, the words of an unexpectedly perfectly fitting lullaby, to dear little Carter, it came to me.

I don’t know much about money. While I know it doesn’t buy happiness, if I were to someday come across a large some of money for some silly reason I know exactly what I would spend it on. I would fix as many people as possible. I would use it for scholarships or grants or foundations or whatever would help make the world get out of reverse. I know money probably can’t actually fix anything, but I would do what I could.

And if money doesn’t work, I know light will. Joy. From the ground up, I will find a way to make the crying stop. Babies, adults and elderly alike. That is my mission. I don’t have to know much about money to know that.

 

Never Letting Go May 20, 2014

I wasn’t expecting anything. Not with the baby around. And mom being really sick. And dad being distracted with work stuff.

So you can imagine my surprise when it happened. It wasn’t right away in the morning like usual, but it happened. And it absolutely made my day. Today I got my birthday present from the most unlikely of sources. It’s a moment for which I have been waiting for more than a year. And today, on the day we just so happen to celebrate my day of birth into this world, it happened.

Baby Carter reached for me this afternoon. Mom has been working with him on this basically since the day he was born. But alas, today he did it on his own accord. There he was, standing (with mom’s support of course) and he reached out and touched my face and my ears and my tail. I’m not going to lie, as much as I was looking forward to it, it was pretty scary when it actually happened.

Because let’s face it. Four-month-old babies have a death grip. It doesn’t matter whether its mom’s hair or his teething giraffe or mom’s necklace or dad’s arm. When they grab on to something, it’s for the long haul. So that’s what happened when he caught a handful of fur today. He grabbed on and would not let go.

And in that moment I realized that’s the best birthday present a doggie could ask for – a little person to grab onto and not let go. Sure, I enjoyed my customary ice cream cone and extra bits of attention from my people throughout the day. It was all especially nice because I truthfully wasn’t expecting anything. It’s not a special birthday, after all. Who celebrates turning six doggie years, anyway? Another (equivalent of seven people years) older was my first thought as I woke this morning.

But today I had a little person do what they do best. He grabbed on. And no matter how old I get I know one thing is for sure. I will never let that go.

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A Sea of Gray March 13, 2014

Apparently it’s normal. But I’m not going to lie, it is kind of freaking me out. I haven’t seen mom cry this much (this randomly) since the last time we watched Marley and Me. Which, coincidentally was today. (Probably not the best idea, given her tender emotional state).

I’m just glad it doesn’t seem to involve me. Or at least it didn’t, until I involved myself. She was crying tonight (for what seems like the millionth time in the last 48 hours) as she rocked baby Carter to sleep because it’s the last time she will do so on a weeknight before she’s working again. It seems a silly reason to me, since it will clearly not be the last time she rocks my dear little person to sleep. But its all going to be different now, she told dad. This Too Shall Pass

It has definitely become one of those lose-lose situations for dad and I, since neither of us can seem to say or do anything to help. So he did what he does best and gave her a hug and a kiss on the forehead and told her we have a lifetime of nights like this ahead of us. Which made her cry more. So I did what I do best and shoved my way into the love fest. Which made her cry more. You see? Lose-lose situation.

But as I thought more about it, it’s not so much the situation itself that seems to be causing these emotions. It’s the thought of transition. The fear of the unknown. I know it all too well. As a family we have been in flux for some time now waiting for the baby to arrive and living through the first precious months, and now moving on with life involves a different kind of change. Transition. From the ground up, it can be a pretty scary thing.

It reminds me a bit of the situation in our backyard right now. As much as I love snow, I cannot stand what it looks like in transition. It’s sloppy and goopy and (worst of all) an awful dreary mixture of gray and brown. A sea of gray. Not to mention the stuff underneath that apparently used to be grass. Now it just looks like mushy brown death.

Just as this is a normal occurrence, apparently this emotional struggle mom is encountering is also fairly common. But here’s the important thing. Eventually all of the gray snow melts away. The grass doesn’t stay brown and sloppy forever. In just a few weeks time, it will be vibrant and beautiful again. My backyard paradise will be restored. The same can be said for this time we are in right now – it’s messy and emotional and that’s okay. Because I know in my heart these fears will be brought to purpose and the sun will shine again.