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Moving Forward

Updated: Feb 22, 2022

In my 20s, I spent 18-hour days on film sets. I’d doze off on the way to and from work, my car veering and my brain fuzzy. I often thought that if I could handle that arduous job, anything in my life moving forward would seem simpler. That was before I entered the world of Motherhood and mortgages. The problems I faced while a production assistant on movie sets were those of fairy tales, wrapped up neatly by the day’s end. The extras went home, the walkies turned off, and the cameras stopped rolling. But the stuff I deal with now is a whole different story. It’s real life, unscripted and ongoing. And as the week’s stressors pile on, they gradually weaken me, making me vulnerable to even more difficulties, like how open wounds lead to further infections.

Such was the case the other morning when I went through my routine of moving Autumn’s push wagon from its storage place behind my car. Only that day, something was different. Worry and exhaustion were causing my once vibrant brain to slowly leak air, rendering it too weak to fight the thought that had been living in my subconscious for months.

“I should have let Autumn play with this more often.”

There was a time when she was obsessed with the wagon, and for good reason. It was the best friend she leaned on for walking when she wasn’t quite ready to go it alone. It’d be like if I were given a set of wings – no doubt I’d want to spend all day flying. But at the time, instead of recognizing it for what it was to her – freedom and opportunity – I could only see what it meant to me – a hindrance to arriving anywhere on time. Because once we were in the garage and she locked eyes on her new love, nothing else mattered. Not the music class nor the pool.

“Autumn, we can’t just walk up and down the sidewalk all day,” I’d explain as she pointed and cried while being forced into her carseat. We had places to go and people to see. And then the other day, when I was so broken and beat, it hit me.

I was wrong. And this time, it affected my daughter, who had been trying to tell me all along that yes, in fact, it was not only possible, but preferable, to walk up and down the sidewalk all day, and that in our absence, the classes would, in fact, go on. The stores wouldn’t go bankrupt, and life as we knew it would continue, albeit slightly differently. I’m finally facing the reality that I clutter my life – overschedule, overplan, and overbuy – because the alternative – having nowhere to go and nothing to do – is terrifying. It was all rolling along well that way until I became a mom to a daughter who desperately just wanted to go for a stroll.

It’s forcing me to stop and clean – to get rid of extra stuff both in my closets and on my schedule – so my mind, too, can become clearer. Because while that wagon has been demoted from a best friend with endless possibilities of exploration to a chalk storage cart, there will be future incidents. There’ll be times when I’ll make plans, and Autumn will laugh at the mere thought. Or more likely cry because she’d rather stay home and pour water from one cup to another. And I promise myself that I’ll do better. I’ll de-clutter and consider more often what she prefers.

Yesterday we had Tot Rock. For the first time, instead of telling her we were going, I asked.

“Do you want to go to music?” I said. I don’t always understand everything she says, but this time, her response was clear.


I was shocked. She loves dancing and singing, playing instruments and running around. Then again, just because I like yoga doesn’t mean I want to practice every time it’s offered. So we didn’t go, and I still can’t believe it. We actually did not go. I’m not 100% sure, but I’d wager a good amount that her peers still marched in circles and shook rattles. And with no set plans on a Saturday in February, I realized that being with each other was more than enough.

Mommy On.

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