Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

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.


The Grief Tunnel

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 8:30 pm

Wiley Schmidt:

June 3, 2009. An emotional D-day of sorts for my mom that has lasting impact to this day.

Originally posted on Wiley's Wisdom:

Four years ago today, my mom’s life changed forever. It was mid-afternoon, and she was feeling incredibly accomplished after having submitted several job applications. (She had been laid off from a gig at the local newspaper two weeks prior). She confidently clicked the “submit” button, smiling because she knew someone that knew someone there who would certainly give her a positive recommendation. Then it happened.

The phone rang, she answered it, and so began the blur of sudden death and it’s aftermath. It is one of those days that everyone involved remembers to the moment where they were and what they were doing at various times throughout the day. Passing through their lives as death waited with baited breath to knock so unkindly at their door.

But all have emerged, and as a general observer of people I’d have to say they have all become stronger because of it. I…

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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.


A Pet’s Life For Me

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 7:46 pm

Wiley Schmidt:

Life as pets know it is a funny thing.

Originally posted on Wiley's Wisdom:

Being a pet in a funny thing for a dog. There’s so much about it that feels like we are fulfilling our purpose in life, and yet there are things we (as dogs) are bred to do that contradict with most pet etiquette. Don’t mark your (beloved) territory anywhere in your forever home. Don’t rub your furry self all over clean laundry. Don’t chew on your parents’ underwear. The list goes on, but today my preoccupation is with our urge to explore. (Also known as don’t run away off-leash in the neighborhood, even though I could navigate home in my sleep). 2013-04-04 15.21.13

Familiarity and routine are two words a dog grows to love, but there is something in our blood that urges us to get outside and explore. Travel the unfamiliar. Make our mark in new territory. I don’t think it’s that unusual. In fact, I think it’s a characteristic we share with our human best friends…

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A Heart Within A Heart August 31, 2014

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 8:33 pm
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It happened a little more than a year ago. It was mom’s 28th birthday and dad got her a very special gift. But there is this thing about gifts – sometimes their real meaning is lost upon the receiver. Usually that’s not the case with my (overly sentimental and sometimes emotionally hypersensitive) forever mom. I love her, but there’s this thing about being a female I simply don’t think I’ll ever fully understand.A Piece of Time

It certainly came to light for me that day all those moons ago when mom unwrapped what may have been one of the very most thoughtful gifts she has ever received from my dear forever dad. (Mind you, that is saying a lot since they’ve known each other almost 11 years now.) He brought it to her with his homemade breakfast in bed and she gasped at the sight of it all. At five months pregnant, I wasn’t surprised at her enthusiasm at the sight of freshly made food one tiny bit.

A Heart Within Then it happened. The great moment when she unopened what might just be one of the most thoughtful gifts dad has ever gotten her. And bam. She missed it. While she had a happy look on her face, it was not quite as happy as when he had entered the bedroom with homemade eggs, pancakes and bacon. “It’s a heart within a heart,” I remember dad saying, with a wilted amount of defeat in his voice. Clearly it meant something to him, and he was surprised mom didn’t instantly notice the thoughtfulness behind the piece.

While that may have been the case then, it is certainly untrue now. Since that day she has almost never taken off the heart within a heart. Sometimes when no one is looking, she cries tears of joy for what that tiny little heart means to her. She wore it throughout the duration of her pregnancy. She wore it while she was in labor. She wore it when dear baby Carter was born. In that moment, he was no longer a heart within a heart. But I’m convinced none of that really matters because the necklace has super powers. So far, it has helped her not just survive pregnancy and labor an delivery, but it has helped her come out of it all a proud, glowing mother of a contagiously happy baby.

To think it happened a while ago already when mom got this special little gift. She’s even already updated it slightly with some tokens that say “blessed” and “mom” on them. But there is something about this thing called gifts. Sometimes their value grows with time. And at least from what I can tell, dear baby Carter will not only grow with time, but he will always make up a (big, important and incredibly prominent) piece of her heart. In reality, he always will be a heart within a heart for her. And that necklace, which serves as a reminder of that, will become nothing less than a timeless treasure.



Joy To The World

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 8:02 pm

Wiley Schmidt:

Is there really ever a “wrong” time to listen to Christmas music?

Originally posted on Wiley's Wisdom:

I caught my mom listening to Christmas music today. There it was mixed in with the normal tunes of Phillip Phillips, Dido and Norah Jones. There’s no place like home (for the holidays). Have yourself a merry little Christmas. Sleigh Ride. I’ll Be Home for Christmas. That’s right, folks, all the classics joined the Christmas party. In June.Merry Christmas in June!

At first I was concerned, and thought perhaps she was confused by the really long winter/non-existent spring we’ve had around here. But we’ve had our fair share of randomly beautiful days too, so that couldn’t be it. My next thought was that something must be wrong at that place called work. But her job changed for the better a few months ago and the result was a much happier (not to mention more well-rested) version of herself. So it can’t be that. In my little doggie mind, I found myself making a…

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Belong To Your Dreams August 30, 2014

I wouldn’t say I’m a wimp. I’m not a weakling or a coward either. But in the face of pain, I will admit it. I don’t like it. I don’t like it in any variety I have ever experienced from physical to mental to philosophical. Pain is not my favorite thing.

Waiting to get going

No pain, no gain

Yet there is this popular people belief of “no pain, no gain.” It’s one that I will admit to completely blowing off in sheer denial the first time I heard it. Which is strange coming from me, since I generally love to embrace the musings of man. Not in this case.

Maybe it’s the physical abuse I encountered in the so-called care of the man with the leather belt. Or I guess it could be the emotional and psychological damage that followed not only his abandonment, but that of my first adoptive family. Such a thing calls into question literally everything you think you know about yourself. What did I do wrong? What would I (should I?) have done differently?

In many cases the answer to these absurd questions lies in the very same emotional space as their origin. Chances are, you didn’t do anything wrong. Most likely there is nothing you could have (or should have) done differently to change the outcome of a given situation.

I realize this now that I have had some time and distance to process how my personal emotional past plays an active role in my psychological future. Regardless of what I’ve gone through, I wouldn’t call myself a wimp or a weakling or a coward. I have shown bravery and courage when it was necessary, even if I still have nightmares of certain events to this day.

But I also have dreams. Really really good ones. Dreams that come alive in various situations of my daily life. Dreams I live in my sleep. Asleep or awake, they don’t look much different. In each of them I am (in one way or another) surrounded by two-footed friends otherwise known as family. Dreams. From the ground up, they are a pretty special antidote to the painful way of thinking about things. I get that now.

I wonder if I’d get that as clearly if I hadn’t had my fair share of pain. Though I suppose it’s possible I would have, I do think sometimes you need to live through the storm to better  appreciate the rainbow that follows. My storms were tough, but my rainbow is better.



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