My oldest son just turned 10! I can’t believe it. It’s so bittersweet – he’s big and fun, he’s not my baby anymore. All those older moms warned me the years would fly and I confess, I didn’t listen or really even believe them until now. Here’s a list of 15 celebration-worthy rites of passage along the journey of motherhood.
- The first time they eat solids is a big moment, but I think the first day they feed themselves is amazing. They have food all over their big grinning faces, and they’re just so darn proud of their accomplishment.
- When they learn to “write” their names. They aren’t concerned with the correct order of the letters or even keeping them in a straight line, but their names are on paper. Yay!
- When they go to bathroom alone (and as a blessed result, so do you!).
- When they put on their own seatbelts. Mom, one day there shall be no more climbing over seats and sweating profusely while trying to buckle each of them in. They will get in and out of the car themselves. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
- The first time they show unique taste in music. My kids started out listening to what we showed them – Johnny Cash, Mumford & Sons, Ella Fitzgerald, The Beatles, etc. Now, all roads inevitably lead to Froggy Fresh or Minecraft songs. This is a little annoying as they start demanding control of the music more often. But it’s been fun to see what they gravitate toward. My oldest has introduced me to some great new songs.
- When they put their own laundry/dishes/ride-on toys away. Seriously, their hands do actual work!
- This connects to number one, but it deserves its own line item because it’s so major: when they begin to wipe their own booties (and wash their hands without being reminded). This is worth buying a piñata and inviting the entire neighborhood over to celebrate.
- When they’re old enough to bathe themselves. I consider it a miracle that I can just say, “Go take a shower,” to my oldest, and he actually does it. Bath time with the little ones is precious and not to be missed. But as they get older, it sure is nice to catch up on that unread People magazine for ten uninterrupted minutes.
- The first time they stop making you put them to bed 800 different times. One day there will be no more, Now, I need another story. Now, a snack. Now, water. Now, a song. Now, a joke. Now, a prayer. Now, more water ‘cause my water’s gone. Now, that random toy I haven’t played with in years but desperately need in bed with me this very minute or I won’t be able to sleep. It’s a little sad to see them growing up but it’s also pretty freaking fantastic when you’re worn out in the evenings. One magical day your kids will stick to the established bedtime routine – and actually just fall asleep.
- The first time they want to grow their hair out like a character on Star Wars or style their entire look without any help from mom. This will make for wonderfully embarrassing stories at their future weddings.
- When they learn to read. Experiencing them sounding out letters and putting it all together is so remarkable, and then it gets even better. There will come a day when you’re reading the same book as your child. My oldest son and I just read the new Harry Potter play at the same time and we had lots of fun spoiling it for my husband.
- The birds and bees talk. “Wait. What goes WHERE?”
- The first time you share your favorite things with them, and they “get it.” I recently took my sons to see the Disney musical Newsies, which was my favorite movie as a tween. It was so fun to watch the show through their eyes – definitely brought me to tears.
- The first vacation without naps or diapers. I have no words for how glorious this is. It’s like Marty McFly came back from the future and told you how to win a billion dollars – it’s a beacon of bright hope for the days ahead.
- The first time they say/write/draw something along the lines of, “I love you so much, mom. You’re the best mommy in the whole world.” This is the good stuff of life.
I am sure you’ve heard the old adage, “The days are long, but the years are short.” In my experience, this has proved to be so true. The great news is that there are so many unique and delightful rites of passages along the way. If you keep an eye open for them, there will always be something new to celebrate.
Aubrey Sampson the mom of three crazy-hilarious sons, which is also to say that she spends most days in her pajamas drinking entirely too much coffee. On the days she manages to get dressed, Aubrey is an event and retreat speaker, a blogger, and the author of Overcomer: Breaking Down the Walls of Shame and Rebuilding Your Soul (Zondervan, 2015). She and her husband, Kevin, just planted their first church in the Chicagoland area. You can find and follow Aubrey at aubreysampson.com and @aubsamp.