Learning From Milestones

I know I’ve been away for a while…nearly two months to be exact, a record for me, but here we are once again and it feels good.  While I casually clear away the cobwebs and dust, let’s chat…because I like to start posts like we’re already in the middle of a conversation, ok Kathleen?

It’s weird to me sometimes, this mothering gig, how it can be so bittersweet as your kids hit milestones but sometimes the milestones feel so natural, so right…like the next phase just clicked into place until the gears start turning again, ready to click into the next position.  A few weeks ago, I threw the kids’ wet snow clothes into the dryer and thirty minutes later I opened the dryer door to a collection of Noah’s essentials around the door rim.  I didn’t realize how much he was carrying around in his pockets everyday; a leather wallet, a Swiss army knife, chapstick, a pocket wilderness survival guide, and a mini booklet of magic tricks.  The scene struck me and hot tears stung my eyes, but not in a sad way, in a satisfied way.  Gears clicking into place for this round of middle school years, satisfied.  My boy lives in a Norman Rockwell-esque mindset.  He wants to camp, start fires, be in the woods, explore, and read.  He lives for nothing more, nothing less.  The part in his hair and jeans hiked slightly too high complete his perfect Norman Rockwell world.  He is coming into his own, he is happy, he is content.  So should I be.

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Last Friday, we had a belated Valentine party at the skating rink.  This annual event is always fun and nerve wracking for me.  You could have found me sitting on the sidelines with the baby, biting my bottom lip and crossing my fingers that my kids would come home with all their bones securely fused.  This annual event is the only time of year my kids use their skating skills, which doesn’t exactly fair well for the following year.  In other words, they’re all a big hot mess out there and half the time I was pretending they weren’t mine.  Despite the multiple high speed collisions with the carpeted walls, Noah seemed to catch on much quicker than last year and the year before.  I watched him as he skated around to Billy Jean with the other kids, chatted, and laughed.  Somewhere in there, he skated over to me, held out his hand, and handed me a tooth.  Yes, a tooth.  In fact, it was his last baby tooth.  Not only is that somewhat significant, ending the era of pulling teeth…literally, but it just so happened to fall on my due date with him…my first baby…my guinea pig child…12 years earlier.

And so on Wednesday we wished our boy a happy 12th birthday.  Twelve.  It seems so unbelievable, and years ago I might have been sad at the thought of him being twelve.  But listen, there is something amazing about watching your kids become who they are going to be…a natural progression of them pulling away, but in a good way…a healthy way.  I vividly remember turning twelve. That was the summer I decided to be a tom boy.  Like I honestly told myself I wanted to be a tom boy all summer, dirt under my nails, playing baseball or basketball all day, riding my bike to get anywhere, and doing nothing even remotely girlie.  My daily uniform was cutoff shorts, a green tank top, and a ponytail.  I remember thinking that twelve was going to be my year…the year I bridged from kid to semi-adult.  I had the new purple mountain bike to prove I was well on my way…out with the curled handle bar, hot pink 10-speed and in with the new.  I imagine Noah feels somewhat the same.  He’s becoming his own person, not just clones of Jarrod and me.  He’s choosing his paths and that’s a really beautiful thing to watch.  I’m sure at certain points, this will be painful to watch, but right now we’re relishing in our guinea pig choices and he’s making us smile.

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Motherhood has surprised me lately.  I’m not sad about the milestones, but choosing to be filled up by them…enjoying the ride along the gears until the next click.


Disclosure: I must admit that a couple weeks ago, my girl also hit a milestone: losing her front tooth.  This I was not prepared for.  This was not a natural progression, but instead a bad run in with another sled in a race…a race she might have won but her front teeth certainly lost.  I heard her screaming from inside the house and met her at the door with blood on her face and a tiny pearly white in her hand.  The other one was barely hanging on, but this I could not handle so I shoved it back in place and its still there…allowing me a little more time to prepare myself for the change of sweet little girl smile to “Mommy, I’m growing up smile.”  I will admit that this time I did cry…and it was definitely sad tears.  But I felt better the next day.

I’ll be back next week.  Feels good to be back.


  1. Sophie!! Poor baby. Oh geesh. The teeth are just an actual reminder of the changes. It makes us stop for a second and actually acknowledge them. That's a good thing. I dreamed last night my dad died. I woke up in a panic, heart racing. Growing older is good. Paying attention is better. Missing my people bad lately.

  2. So wonderful to see you back sharing your sweet family stories and heart. Milestones are good to mark the growth with our Littles and Bigs. My oldest is graduating from high school this year. Proud and sad and excited all wrapped up in a blessed hot mess pie.
    xox- Susan @SugarBeans.org

  3. ALICIA! So happy to read your sweet words! I am feeling the same way about my oldest….he just asked for deodorant! What!! he is supposed to be 6 still! I hope your break was good for the soul.

  4. Could've written this post – right down to the awkward skaters at the Valentine skate party. My oldest boy is hitting that phase too, becoming his own person. And it is both thrilling AND terrifying. And I love that I like this person he is , his very own self. I happen to think he's pretty cool.

    Happy you're back! xo

  5. So glad your back! And what a beautiful post!!! I potty trained my youngest in four days and now she seems so old!!!!! Sounds like a silly milestone but it's been amazing to see her figure this out and become so independent!!! Again I'm glad your back! Missed you!

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