Leaning Forward: Navigating The Bumpy Road Toward Change 24


-A rosy-cheeked toddler, with curling strawberry blond hair, is propped in a coffee-colored recliner. His chubby arm clutches an orange striped stuffed lion. I widen my eyes, grin big and say, “Cheese!”. He flashes tiny perfect white teeth, squints his lushly lashed green eyes and squeals, “TEEEEZE!” I snap the picture and then watch as he and Lion scramble down from the chair unassisted.

-I’m sitting on beige carpeted stairs, strapping yellow velcro sandals to impossibly tiny kicking feet. I’ve somehow painted the squirming toes fuchsia, a cheerful color that can’t outshine the fire in her hair. I rest my chin on her head, feeling the curls tickle my skin. I smell baby shampoo and first birthday cake.

These, and a thousand other, memories are projected on a mini movie screen in my mind. I keep them in a cinematic vault, under lock and key, because I know they are invaluable. More recent memories are of high school and college graduations, first apartments, new jobs and big moves to far-off places. The changes are all positive and precious but Kerouac’s “too-huge world” is propelling us all.

Toward what?

I reminded myself, daily, that this time would come; a time when Mommy wouldn’t be needed and Mom would have to do. So I try to lean forward.

It’s a very big sky we’re living under but we are all still beneath it, together. We are breathing. We are dreaming. We are venturing forward. For this, I am thankful. I roll on.

Erin, The Caffeinated Day Tripper

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