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.

 

 

 

Beneath the Surface January 28, 2015

It was a quiet sound. Almost like a cat purring. Except it was just loud enough I could tell something wasn’t quite right. And it was coming from dear baby Carter’s room.

It wasn’t exactly a cry. I guess you could call it a moan. It was a sad sound, and it was happening for a while last night. A few hours after it quieted down, there was crying. Then more sleep. Then a bit more crying. And then it was morning. Sleep.

Between the moaning and the tears, it was kind of a rough night around here for everyone involved last night. No one slept well, including me. But today made up for it right quick. It should be noted we were all obviously (more than a bit) tired as we tackled the day. Yet there was something about the day that felt different. Something special was happening, though I didn’t know what until later.

I definitely felt left behind as mom and dad and Carter piled into the car this afternoon. I could tell wherever they were going was a source of much excitement and anticipation. I was right.

When the returned just over an hour later, they had news. Big news. They had all gotten to see my new little person during something called an ultrasound. They had gotten to count ten fingers and ten toes and see the baby’s little nose. They had gotten to find out whether Carter will be getting a brother or sister.

And mom had gotten to breath a sigh of relief about something she had been quietly worrying about. As you may recall, dear Carter was somewhat of an acrobat before he was even born. Always kicking and bouncing and rolling around. Even I could see (and near the end even feel) the action all unfolding beneath the surface.

So far with the new little person, there’s been none of that. Mom has felt very little movement compared to what she had already felt at this point with Carter and it was worrying her more than she let on. It turns out there is indeed a scientific reason for this (something or another about the placenta being in a certain place), and that mom may just feel less this time around than she did with Carter. That wouldn’t be a bad thing as far as I’m concerned, given the grief all that activity gave her in the long run. Beyond that, though, it was a relief for her to know things seem to be progressing well and there is (at least from what they could tell) nothing to be worried about.

I’m not sure what caused dear Carter’s sleep issues last night (though I suspect that nasty thing called teething). Nor am I sure what tonight will bring. But I do know we should rest easy in knowing things are going as best as they can for the time being. And that’s a mighty peaceful thought.

 

 

No Place I’d Rather Be January 23, 2015

I don’t have this problem very often. While not always the most succinctly, I can usually find a way to describe most things. Yet today I struggle. Because where I come from there are no right words to describe this sound.

It was different than it was in those first few months when dear baby Carter would cry. Though it had a way of tearing at mom’s heart, we all came to understand it was simply his only means of communication then. Over time, he has developed a myriad of other ways to tell us all what’s going on in that curious little mind of his. So now when the crying happens, we know it’s really something bad. Wiles and Carter

Especially when it’s more than your ordinary run-of-the-mill sleepy or hungry cry that does occasionally still happen. This was in a realm all its own. It was piercing. His little face was turning purple. And nothing (and I mean nothing) seemed to help. Except being in the arms of my dear forever mom, but even then the screaming continued.

Until it happened. Mom thought to cue up a familiar song on the music player and when those thoughtful notes entered the room I could almost see Carter’s body relax. He was still pretty upset about who knows what (mom thinks it was gas or something), but the crying was noticeably mitigated when the music started.

“Someday I wish I upon a star, wake up where the clouds are far behind me…where trouble melts like lemon drops high above the chimney top that’s where you’ll find me,” sings Hawaiian musician Isreal Kamakawiwo’Ole in a way only he could. “Somewhere over the rainbow, bluebirds fly. And the dreams that you dare to…really do come true.”

It’s our song, mom whispered into Carter’s ear as he snuggled his bright red, tear-soaked face into her chest. And I know it’s going to sound crazy, but I knew in that moment something it is hard to put into words. A mother’s love. From the ground up, it’s about as unconditional as it gets.

I knew it when the crying first started. I knew it even as the crying ramped back up a bit as mom fiddled with the gadget to get the song to play again. I knew it when it quieted down. And when he snuggled his mommy. There is no place either of them would rather be.

 

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.

 

Labor of Love September 1, 2014

It’s official. The cheese has fallen off my dear forever mom’s cracker. Truth be told, it’s been coming on for a while. Eight months ago yesterday, she was ending her torturous journey of pregnancy with the pinnacle of labor and delivery. Eight months ago, she and dad brought home dear baby Carter. Eight months ago he was a little 20.5 inches 7 pound ounces of a bundle otherwise known as joy. Eight months ago he cried all night every night for  weeks. And eight months ago it started.

All In the EyesMom wants another little person. She wants another teeny tiny snuggle bug. Eight months later, Carter isn’t so snuggly any more. It’s gotten worse since he’s been crawling all over the place and pulling himself up on anything vertical. Snuggles are a thing of the past for him, at least for now. I’m sure that’s not the only reason mom wants another little person (I think she has said something about the sibling relationship), but it seems too small a reason for me. Because dad and I think she’s absolutely nuts.

Sure, we’ve had it pretty easy with Carter. He slept through the night early, picked up a daily routine quickly and is generally in a fairly happy mood. Teething hasn’t been easy on the poor little guy, but he seems to be moving along with that as well as to be expected. But another one?

I think mom must be forgetting her battle bra royale (which continues on a daily basis), and the breakdowns about clothing and the back pain and the rib pain and all the pain she experienced throughout pregnancy. If she’s not forgetting that, she certainly must be forgetting the 16 hours she spent in labor to deliver dear baby Carter into the world. Or the painful recovery afterward, made more complicated by the incessant lack of sleep.

Or maybe not. Today I realized maybe she does remember it. All of it. Maybe that’s why she wants to do it again. For her, it was all a labor of love. For her, it is a labor of love. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still with dad on this one. I think one little person is plenty around here. But I think I can at least acknowledge where she’s coming from. She’s thinking with her heart instead of her mind. She’s remembering the more effort you put into something the more you usually get out of it. The more it means to you.

I don’t know what the future holds in this regard. I probably won’t for a while. But I do know this is yet another reason to feel blessed that I have landed in the forever home I have. There is certainly no shortage of love around here. Even if it is a little crazy sometimes.