The past two weeks have been back to school time in Oklahoma.On my social media feeds my sweet friends have been posting the most adorable pictures of their children's first day of school.
I love the the backpacks, lunch boxes, precious smiles and signs they are holding up. I love the anticipation of a new grade, new teacher, new friends and a new year. Even though they are technically going "back to school" they aren't really going backwards. They are moving forward in life, much to the sadness of all the Mama's out there who still see them as their little babies
Yes, babies they once were. Babies who's diapers you once changed. Who's spit up you once wore. Who's tiny finger you once held.
Now you hold their hand as you drop them off and you let them go. Watching with tears in your eyes as they face a big world without you right by their side.
Where did the time go? How have the years passed so quickly? In so many ways you want to go back to those days, when their life was fresh and new. When their every need was met by you. We all know we can't, but that doesn't stop us from wishing we could.
One thing we all know for sure about life, it keeps moving forward. Just like our children do. You can't stop the train or even slow it down. From babies to toddlers. From toddlers to elementary. From elementary to Jr. High. From Jr. High to Highschool. Off to college. Then starting a family.
All of these are good things. They are healthy things. It's how life works. Growth. Day by day. Year by year.
That doesn't make it any easier. It's never easy to let go. There's a sentimental part of us that wants to hold so tightly to how it was, we can forget sometimes to anticipate what will be.
For living in a state of how it was is not truly living. Living is present tense. It's daily. It's now.
Living can hold tightly to the beauty of the past while also believing there's more beauty ahead. Living realizes life is a series of strokes that one day become a messy lovely painting, created by each and every moment of our lives.
As much as you might want to freeze time, at a certain point we all know we can't. We will never truly go "back" to anything. You go forward. You're not ever saying goodbye to the earlier years. You are holding it close to your heart as you watch those years develop them, and grow them into an even better version of who they already where. It takes who they were to become who they'll be. Every single stage, and every single age.
So it is with life. So it is in loss. Moving forward can be painful but necessary. It can be a battle every day. It's not a goodbye. It's not anything we completely leave behind. It's what we carry with us as we move forward to a different version of who we were.
The way you honor loss is by living. Knowing you can never go back or even move on. But you can move forward. Don't be afraid to do so. Carrying with you the best of what was, only enriches the fullness of what's to come.
You might just be astounded by the beauty that's to be.
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