Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

On Everything and Nothing March 31, 2015

It starts the same every time. I can see it in the eyes of my dear forever mom from the moment she wakes. This is going to be a good day, she thinks. Today I will get it all done.

I have to say it has intensified since she became a mom to dear baby Carter. I guess it makes sense since he is a reason the list itself is naturally longer now than it was before. From laundry to doctors appointments to simply cleaning up after the messes a toddler tornado can make in a day, he is his very own list maker. Joy

Today was no different, as she set out to accomplish x, y, z for work, and clean the house and take Carter to the doctor over lunch, squeeze in a run to the store, accomplish a, b, c for work and make dinner. In itself, it wasn’t that unheard of for her to think she could do it all. Except that she’s still sick. And Carter is a little sick. And none of that is as easy to accomplish under those circumstances.

It hit her hard around 3 p.m. when she realized basically the only things that got done were x, y, z for work and Carter’s doctor appointment. The visit to the store was a failure, since she forgot the two things she went for in the first place. And she hadn’t had a second to eat a proper breakfast or lunch, let alone give a second thought to dinner or cleaning the house.

It ends the same every time. There’s a sense of defeat in the air and I can feel mom’s heavy heart weighing on her as if it were my own.

The thing is, I know she knows it as well as I do: the problem is sometimes “it” is legitimately impossible. Sometimes the list literally is too long to achieve. Sometimes you can’t do it all. And that’s okay. Because sometimes when you feel like you got nothing done, it means you got everything done you were meant to that day. And everything is always better than nothing.

 

 

We Are Young January 12, 2015

The first time happens at about the same time every day a few seconds after I hear the familiar phrase. “Good morning sunshine,” my dear forever mom says to dear baby Carter before she picks him up out of his crib. And so begins another day.

Today was no different. “Good morning, sunshine,” I heard mom say as she picked a very smiley Carter out of his crib. A few minutes later it happened again as she picked him up after changing his clothes and when she put him in his high chair for breakfast and when breakfast was over and she took him out of his high chair. Thirty-three. That is how many times I counted my dear forever mom pick up a all 25 pounds of Carter today before I lost count.Big as the sky, old sport

She never complains about it, and I would estimate that well over half of the time it was for no other reason than to sneak in a quick kiss on the cheek or to give a hug.

But as the day wore on, I noticed it was getting harder on her to pick him up. So I wasn’t surprised when she told dad tonight that she feels tired. When she used the word “old,” however? My heart skipped a beat. And not in a good way.

She wasn’t connecting the way she is feeling to the amount of unconscious physical activity she engaged in throughout the day. By anyone’s standards, it wouldn’t be easy picking up and putting down and carrying around a one-year-old as much as she does in an average day. I am a very strong believer in the power of the mind over things like age, in that we are as young as we feel.

So when it happened a few minutes later, my heart was overwhelmed with relief. Carter started giggling for no apparent reason other than that maybe he was really (really) enjoying his peas. The giggle was something unlike anything any of us had ever heard from him. And the best part was how contagious it became. Mom and dad were giggling. My tail was wagging. It was a very happy and dare I say child-like moment for my forever family. In moments like these, we are young.

And so ends another day. Sure, it was exhausting in its own way for everyone involved. But it was also invigorating and refreshing and I can’t wait to start it all over again tomorrow.

 

I’m Sorry Now April 22, 2014

I don’t really know what happened. One minute I was in my happy place otherwise known as dreamland (chasing rabbits and other small vermin, of course). The next thing I know, there was crying. Well, it was more like screaming actually. Very loud and incredibly frantic screaming. Wiley! Wiley! WILEY!

I’m not sure how long it was going on before it finally woke me from my apparently deep slumber, but out I crawled from one of my favorite spots under my peoples’ bed and there I was. And there she was.

My dear aunt Morgan was in shambles. Absolute shambles. Her hair was strewn every which way. She was crying. And she was upset. She was incredibly upset. I did my best to cheer her up with all of my tricks. I snuggled and wagged and licked and none of it seemed to work. It was apparent. I was in the dog house. The worst part was, I wasn’t really sure why.

That is until mom returned home shortly thereafter. That is when I listened to the other side of the story. I thought he ran away, Morgan said, I thought he was gone. It seems to have startled her that I didn’t respond right away, I realized. This brought to light something I’ve always known but spend very little time contemplating. Baby Love

We often don’t know the consequences of our actions until it’s too late. A lot of things are said that we can’t take back. Yet we say them, they do their damage, and life goes on. A lot of things are done that have negative repercussions. A lot of decisions are made with little to no thought of their impact. All the while I know in my heart the power of the ripple effect. Everything we do, intentional or otherwise, has an effect on the world around us.

“A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life doing nothing,” as Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw suggested.

It doesn’t matter that I didn’t know what was happening. It doesn’t matter that in my dreams I was about to slay a whole coven of squirrels. What matters is the tears that resulted from my ignorance. The stress I caused with all kinds of unnecessary worrying about my whereabouts.

Because while it was certainly not intentional I learned a very important lesson today. I learned what it means to cause such confusion. Because I learned what is like to be loved. It’s not the first time, and I (while I don’t intend a repeat episode anytime soon) I am so very blessed in knowing it won’t be the last.

 

When It Rains March 17, 2014

It started at 1:23 a.m. That is when baby Carter started crying (all right, more like screaming), almost an hour an a half before he usually wakes up hungry this morning. So mom and dad got up, fed him, and went back to bed. Mom wasn’t sleeping very well to begin with, so I snuggled my best. I’m not sure it mattered.

Then at 5:36 a.m. the phone calls and text messages started. My dear grandma, who was all set to babysit baby Carter on mom’s first day back to work, couldn’t come. She broke a tooth eating breakfast of all things, and needed to get in to see a dentist as soon as possible. Thank goodness for my aunt Morgan, who swooped in to save the day.

Though I’m not entirely sure she saved much other than Carter and I, since it was definitely one of those days for mom. The kind that never ends even though you wish you could just go to bed and have it be tomorrow. The polar opposite of the kind of days you savor. The kind that when it rains it pours. Because when she got back to work, she was greeted by far more than she expected. Far more than she would be capable of catching up on in a day (let alone a month or two). For some, this would be an easy enough mountain to climb. Slow and steady. For mom, who cares so very deeply for doing the right thing even if it hurts, it was like a punch to the stomach.

I know as well as anyone she hates to let people down, and that is exactly what she felt like from the moment she got to back to work. She was letting Carter (and me) down because she left. She was letting her clients down because she couldn’t take care of them all at once. Ultimately, she let herself down because of letting all of this get to her.

Meanwhile, I was home monitoring the Carter situation and he was not happy. It started again yesterday – after days (or maybe weeks?) of fairly decent behavior, he started crying inexplicably. All the time. Morgan rocked him and sang to him and fed him and changed him and dressed him and nothing seemed to work. If I didn’t know better, I would say he and mom are on some sort of level emotional playing field. The way she has been crying the last couple of days mirrors his cries in a way I can’t think is a coincidence.

But it ended at 9:08 p.m. Baby Carter finally fell asleep. And mom and dad breathed a collective sigh of relief. Because let’s be honest. Sometimes there are days like this. Days with very little (if any) silver lining. Days that just plain run us down. When it rains it pours. But at least I know one thing for sure. That rainbow always follows the storm.