Backward Glances


“What were you blogging about last year at this time? What has changed?”

When this question came through on a writing prompt this week, I latched on to it. That’s right up my alley; how much of my life have I spent looking back, measuring growth and change?

But for the first time in my life, I realized I couldn’t remember a year ago. I pieced it together: Nicholas was almost a year old, so I was nursing. Julianna had just started school, and Alex was in preschool. But what was on my mind? Blank.

I went to my archives. A year ago today, I posted “Pixie Dust.” Wow! Have we really had that backpack for a year? It still looks that big on her! But these days, she must put it on by herself. And she’d much rather steal other children’s backpacks—at school, at home, in the carpool—than wear her own. She’s morphing from extended baby to moody teenager minus ten years. Though not as moody as her little brother.

And then my brain shut down. A big neon message flashed up on my mental TV screen, pleading: No more! Please, for the love of all that is holy, I just want to go to SLEEEEEEEEEEEP!

Two hundred words in, I found my blog post. Because I realized something: I’m no longer obsessed with looking back. And that’s a big deal. For most of my life, I’ve considered it a treat to read my Journals, wallowing in my former life, relishing past hurts and grievances, thrilling to the Moments. I knew it was unhealthy. There were times in my life when I had to quit Journaling altogether, because all the analysis excavated more pain and anxiety.

I wrote my first blog entry when Julianna was 5 weeks old—half a week before the first of her scary hospital stays. I was hit or miss for a while, but the day that I wrote a tribute to Gene, blogging changed for me; that was the day that people really started reading, and the day that the blog began to replace Journaling.

When we moved into this house, those binders went in the only convenient storage space: the bathroom closet in the basement. And there they remain, safely out of reach of destructive little hands, and pushed to a more appropriate importance. When it came time to write my infertility story, I realized I hadn’t cracked one open in a couple of years. I don’t have time to waste on navel-gazing these days. And that’s a good thing. It’s too easy to hold onto the past as it is—the grudges nurtured through the present into the future, and the nostalgia, which if taken too far, obscures all that there is to be thankful for in the here and now. Who needs help?

Mama’s Losin’ It

6 thoughts on “Backward Glances

  1. It is funny, *I* knew the answer to what you were blogging about a year ago without having to read it because a year ago was a time when I had a lot of time to read your blog, not just skim it.

    Reflection is good, but sometimes being busy is so very much better.

  2. Chrissy

    I ended up destroying my high school and college journals when I got married. Storage is at a precious minimum and when I looked at the journals I realized I didn’t need them any more. I did transcribe a few touching moments- but it actually felt a bit liberating to let it go.

    By the same token I also think it’s time to start writing again. Running (exercising) and writing a big stress relievers and I need that right about now.

  3. What a poignant thought about letting go of the past in order to live more fully in the here and now. I need to absorb that one in my brain all day….so that it STICKS!

    Stopped by from Mama Kat’s.

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