No matter how much I try to freeze time, I can’t seem to make it work. It seems we are a people obsessed. We try to keep our faces young and our bodies svelte (I’m laughing because svelte is the LAST word I would use to describe myself!), and now that I am a mother, I want to keep my children in this beautiful age where I am still their favorite person in the whole world. I can put forth a valiant effort, but the seconds flow into minutes and the minutes quickly add up to years.
Already, my oldest is a hairsbreadth away from her sixth birthday. She has freckles and her limbs are now long and lean. She focuses on reading and writing, and she entertains herself. This summer, we will teach her to finally take the training wheels off her bike so she can ride freely up and down the sidewalks when we go for walks. I’m looking forward to the look of excitement on her face when she realizes she can do it herself, but I’m already aching over this milestone. One more step to independence.
As much as it aches me to see my children get older, I know that moving forward is good and necessary. I think we forget how to do that as adults sometimes. I had goals and dreams and friendships in my school years and even a plan up until I became a mother, but I never thought beyond it. My own six year old mind couldn’t fathom anything beyond this level of adulthood, and I spent about 5 years adrift and in a mini-identity crisis. It took a while to realize it’s important to continue to set goals and have plans that keep stretching me as person, wife, and mother.
In the Disney movie, “Meet the Robinsons,” Keep Moving Forward is the motto of the Robinson family. The father, Cornelius Robinson, is an influential inventor. His strength didn’t lie in the fact that he created new things, but in the fact that he learned that every failure and every misstep was a lesson in how to better move forward. We don’t stop thinking, creating, and learning when we become adults. I’m learning for the first time that I’m finally starting to know what I want to do with my life. It’s ludicrous to think that we are supposed to have it all figured out at 22. At 32, I’m just now figuring out that there are more opportunities than what I could fathom as a kid, and we can all have our own piece of the pie. No one has to step down in order for me to step up. I can own my space just where I am.
Moving forward means learning to ride without training wheels. It means identifying the training wheel areas of my own life, in experiences and friendships. Something may be good and needed at first, but we aren’t meant to stay in it. I need to ask myself, “Is this moving me towards something better, keeping me steady, or is it taking away from what needs to be done?”
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.
Everything has a season. Instead of mourning the end, I think we should focus on what we gained in the process. What moved us? Grew us? Stretched us? Caused us to be a little bolder, a little kinder, a little better? I know I have been riding on my own situational training wheels for far too long, and like my Bluebelle, I need to take my own wobbly steps towards moving forward. I’ll probably scrape my knee a few times, and it will feel a little impossible, but the feeling of the wind in my hair and the exhilaration of doing it is worth it.
Are you moving forward? What do you need to let go?