Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Moving backwards

"I can't get the wipes, I keep moving backwards."

Said my son, age 3.

He is cute and he knows it. 

He has been having a lot of difficulty over the last 6 months with the baby to "big boy" transition.   He is the baby of the family (on both sides) and I believe that outgrowing that is really perplexing to him. That being said, with potty training and various other "big boy" steps, he is moving forward to being a big boy. But honestly, he will ALWAYS be my baby. And I would be lying if my heart didn't cringe a bit every time I utter the words: " You CAN do ... you are a BIG BOY!"


There are times when he is laying on the ground and he says "I can't get up" or walking up the steps "I can't walk" or getting the wipes "I keep moving backwards" that a larger part of me wants to laugh at his attempt at staying a baby.

The other day when he told me he kept moving backwards, I couldn't stop thinking of those words. First of all the phrase was hilarious. Second it REALLY got me thinking.

What is the rush? Why are we trying to move forward so much? Why do we say "Don't live in the past"?

When D was a baby he would curl up on my chest and immediately be at peace. He still does that but it's just his head. I don't want to move forward to the point when that is awkward...

When he was a baby he used to eat EVERYTHING. Now he eats five foods. I sure would like to keep moving backwards on that issue.

When he was younger, he would take naps, and although I still get an occasional quiet time from him, the naps are gone and the quiet time is fleeting.

My grandfather passed away last week. You can read all about my relationship with him here: Twinkle. He was an amazing man with an amazing life. Like many people of his generation, he did not bother to grasp the technology of the internet and using a cell phone was a stretch. He was a member of the "Greatest Generation".

I recently reread his memoirs and in it I was struck by the simplicity of life. It took his family three weeks to move from Minnesota to Maryland. There weren't highways at that time, there were "illegal" toll roads and there were 7 of them in a car. together. for 3 weeks. I can't even imagine how that would have played out. They didn't have iPads, DVDs or Mp3 players. There were 7 of them in a car. together. for 3 weeks.

My grandparents grew up in the Depression. They were simple even when didn't need to be. It was important to get iceberg lettuce. It didn't matter that it lacked nutritional content compared to the other lettuces. It lasted a long time and served a good base for a salad. The blankets, though threadbare, were "perfectly fine" and still warm. Therefore, no need to buy a new one.  Books will keep you company and a good comic strip will provide a laugh. A basket of chocolate (The same type for 30 years: Mr. Good Bar) is perfectly suitable for a special treat.

My grandparents in the 1940's
My grandfather's girlfriend (yep my 93 year old Grandfather had a girlfriend) would save things for his great grandchildren. When we came to visit she would give each child something. Her manner of presentation of the "gift" was so sweet and kind that it was as if they were touching gold. She gave my daughter address labels that came in junk mail. We had left them behind at the retirement home. My daughter cried the whole way home.

Today, we were leaving a park and my daughter's friend stopped, moved backwards and said "I have to pick those flowers for my mom!" (They were flower weeds) I started to protest. I started to open my mouth and say "no, come on, it's time to go" but I stopped myself. Find the joy in those flowers. Pick them for someone special.

So, maybe its not such a big thing to keep moving backwards. We can learn from it. We can be in awe and savor the special and simple moments.

As technology grows I am in awe as to what we can create and learn. As a soon to be teacher (again), I am astounded at how children will be able to grow up with the digital world at their fingertips. But I hope and pray they stop and pick some flowers too.


  1. There is so much that resonates with me in this post, Tiffany. I often find myself wishing my youngest would do certain things and then in the same breath wanting to make time stand still. But also, I love that your grandfather wrote and left his memories for you and your family to enjoy and learn from. What a testament to write down our days. And what a gift he gave you (among many, I'm sure). You are doing the same for your family (and yourself, I think) on this blog.

  2. Funny, I am writing this blog for myself, but I would like to think that when I pass on, it will help my grandchildren better understand who their grandmother was. My grandpa wrote the memoir for himself after my grandmother passed away. He never though it should be published. Now that he's gone, he doesn't have any say in that anymore. HA Ha!

  3. Beautiful words here and I'm so sorry for the loss of your grandfather. He (and his girlfriend!) sound wonderful. Here's to taking a moment to pick the flowers and move backwards in the best ways.