Life in the Forward Lane

My dad has this saying on his man cave refrigerator that reads: “Do not look back, you are not going that way.” I don’t know if that’s new or I just never paid attention before to have seen that. But seeing as I noticed it towards the end of last year, I decided that my word for 2023 was “Forward.” I feel like I’ve wasted too many of my 44 years looking in the wrong direction, which clearly just does no one any good.

This year has already started out to be a doozy with some big life changes but…full steam ahead. That said, however, 2022 does bear a bit of a farewell (yes, we are well into the third month already so I’m late in this but alas…) Every year has its milestones; its important events and moments that [hopefully] we remember and if needed, learn from. For me, 2022 was a pretty mundane year. We got our lives back. We had burn parties with our masks and we moved forward (pun intended). And while my kids are continually evolving and growing everyday, I’m not exactly one to get too bogged down in the milestones. I’m sure I’ll scold myself in 20 years, although really, I’m not sure what one is “supposed” to do to celebrate every tooth lost or inch grown. Besides, isn’t that what social media is for…to document every little thing that happens every single day of one’s life?! (Insert eye roll.)

Anyway, things always seem to hit me at random and uncommon times. I never really cared when I was done having babies (especially since I was done having babies one kid ago…) or when my kids went to kindergarten. Hell, I was the mom cheering, not crying. I did have a really hard time when I got rid of the high chair, which seems to make no sense, but maybe that was just what it took for me to recognize the end of the baby years. BUT while 2022 didn’t have a whole lot to offer, I think it’s going to go down as one of those “hit-me-hard” kinda years. It’s going to be the last year that I can say I have a little boy. The hormones are beginning, and any day now my sweet boy is going to surpass me. He’s already outgrown my shoes and we can fit in the same size clothes… okay my hips just barely squeeze into his XL husky boy jeans but I’m still counting it. I only have about one inch on him and let’s just say a handful of pounds. This year all that goes away. Middle school is where one life ends and another one begins. Every time I drop my son off for whatever event, he still turns to look at me and says, “Bye, Mom.” But for how long? I seriously find myself wondering every time if that’s the last wave and eye contact I’ll get for another 10 years. I just find it strange the things that we, as individuals, seem to hyper focus on. For the most part, I’m trying really hard to focus on the Forward, but every once in awhile I feel myself slipping into the Back. Because in the “Back” I could protect him, but in the Forward he continually breaks free, little by little. But I suppose that is just the summation of parenthood, right?

Anyway, I think the point of my ramblings is that even though I am trying to focus more on staying in my Forward Lane, I do still think it’s just as important to look Back every once in awhile and know that it’s okay to miss it. The trick is just not to stay there too long. The Back holds memories; it holds experiences; and it holds life. It’s what guides us in whatever Forward direction we decide to go. Someday the Back is all that we will have. But until then, let’s respect it, learn from it, but give the Forward Lane the attention it deserves.