My kids recently started a new school year. Like many mothers, I look at them and think “Where did the time go?” As I was scrolling through Facebook looking at the first day of school pictures that my friends were posting, I came across a little gem that I would like to share with you. We know the importance of looking forward, and not back at our lives. It’s a hard choice, to not feel a little sorry that you can’t put a “pause” button on time. However, this particular post drove home the importance of looking forward, not back. From now on, I am going to try to keep my focus on moving forward.
Where Did My Babies Go?! When Did You Get So Big??
It started before school, really. The pickiness with clothes, his own style, new haircut, and just a little bit of “Oh Mom, really?” and “Mooommmm….” He’s still a sweet kid, and he will always be my baby, but I started really looking at him. Those once tiny shoulders and slender figure seem to be broadening out. His face is starting to lose the “little boy” look and go into the gawky phase where he will be all knees and elbows.
He does not want to smile for pictures anymore, and when he does, it’s this totally goofy unnatural looking smile. He wants to look “cool.” Whatever cool is anymore. I seem to be losing my touch with what is and what isn’t. Not that I cared a lot about it in the first place, but I care even less now because I’m happy with who I am. Can you relate to any of this? If you can, you might have a kid on your hands that’s growing up too.
Looking Back at the Past is Easy
Since he is my oldest son, all his life I have looked at him and thought “Wow! You’re getting so big!” Looking backward is easy because we have been there. We know what it was like then. We are familiar with the past. The past is comfortable for us. I remember even when he was a little baby, thinking “He’s getting so big!” When in reality, he was still very tiny. I just did not realize how tiny. Looking back at the past is ok, to a point. We made good memories. Looking back at those memories makes me smile. It makes me happy that we did all the things that we did.
Life is a journey, and like any good journey, you make some wonderful memories along the way. However, just like our vacation that is over for the year, I will remember it with fondness, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not looking forward to vacation next year. What’s not healthy is completely living in the past. It’s ok to go visit sometimes, but don’t move in and stay there!
I mentioned a Facebook post that I saw. It was from a church sister of mine that I do not see very often, but have great respect for. She’s one of my role models. She works hard, she laughs loudly, she loves her husband fiercely, she’s an amazing mother, and she’s filled with passion in about everything that she does. Her daughter is a teen and she also has a tween son. She shared a story from when her daughter started kindergarten.
“12 years ago when (my daughter) started Kindergarten, I was bemoaning my baby growing up and taking her first step away from me. An older woman whom I knew, though not very well, overheard me. She stopped me and said “Don’t be this woman. Each season of life has its blessings. I have loved being a mother to my small children, my adolescents, my teenagers, my adult children. If you constantly mourn what was you will miss out on what is. Don’t be that woman.” Then she smiled at me, squeezed my shoulder and walked away. I was startled. I barely knew her. But in the years since I have come to deeply appreciate her wisdom. And she was right. Just thought I’d share.”
Truth: If you constantly mourn what was you will miss out on what is.
Will you Make the Life Choice to Keep Moving Forward?
I was blown away when I read it. Year after year, I posted back to school pictures with the attitude of “Why can’t they be little again?” Her post reminded me that I need to keep moving forward. The only constant in life is change. I can’t say that I’m much of a fan of change. I finally get comfortable with where things are at and then they change. That’s life. It has seasons just as surely as each year that passes does.
When I think of the seasons of each year, I can honestly say that I keep looking forward, not back. In the spring, I look forward to summer, in the summer, I look forward to fall. In the fall, I look forward to winter, and in the winter, I look forward to spring. However, I can honestly say that as I get older they seem to be going by much more quickly than they did before. I try to pause and enjoy the season that I am in too. I want to remember this: to take time to enjoy what is. Look forward to what will come, but also enjoy what is.
Life is Like a Roll of Toilet Paper..
In regards to how quickly life passes, my Dad once shared these words of wisdom: “Life’s like a roll of toilet paper, the closer to the end you get, the faster it goes.” When I was younger, I laughed at this. As I get older, though, my roll does not seem to have quite as much on it, though I am far from almost out. Like toilet paper, once it’s gone, it’s gone. You can remember it, but you won’t ever get that time back. We have to keep looking forward, not back.
How will you choose to live your life? You only get one shot, make the most of it. Life is too short to simply survive. Who wants to choose to go through life simply plodding through their days? I don’t. I want to not only go through the motions, I want to FEEL alive. There’s only one person that can decide to do that, though, and that’s you. If you want to make the most of your life, you have to choose to do so.
I’m Making the Life Choice to Keep Looking Forward, Not Back
I know what my life choice is. Today, right now, I am deciding to keep looking forward, not back. I am going to make a conscious effort to enjoy every stage of my life as a parent and my life in general. Living in the past is not for me. I want to keep moving forward. The past has been full of wonderful (and some not so wonderful) memories. The future holds even more. No matter how much I cherish the memory of rocking my tiny infants and singing to them, I can’t shrink them back to the way they were. If I really get down too it, I would not wish to do so either.
Those were sweet memories and I would not take anything for them. Do you know what I remembered at the time though? Sleeping. I remembered sleeping through an entire night. At that time, I looked forward to the day when I would once again be able to go through the day not feeling like a zombie and thinking that 6 continuous hours would be an unspeakable miracle! I looked forward to the day where the kids would be old enough to know what a “weekend” was and I would not have to get up before the sun on Saturday morning.
My kids are still home. There will be a day when they will not be. I need to remember to cherish what is, and not mourn what was. Today, I am making the life choice to keep looking forward, not back. What choice will you make?
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