When Milestones Sneak In

Just a couple of days ago, our four-year-old announced it was time for her first haircut. It’s not as though we haven’t asked if she wanted a haircut. She was fiercely determined that she would not have her haircut until she her five-year-old birthday even as she tagged along to her brother’s routine haircuts. And then one morning, it changed. She was ready.

As a parent, I’ve found this happens again and again. You might be ready for a certain milestone. Your kid’s teacher or pediatrician may remind you that certain milestones are coming, should have come, or are just around the corner, but it isn’t until your child decides they are ready that the milestone actually happens. Oh you can try to make it happen, but in my experience, you’re going to have to try again if they aren’t on board.

The most ironic part of this, I’m never ready when they are ready. I’m always caught in the “Wait, hold on, let’s just slow down a minute” mindset.

As I watched her climb into the chair onto two booster chairs, my mind starts echoing the words of Mary Louise Kelly, “It does so fast.” This week alone, she has started swimming without a swim vest and begging to have her training wheels on her bike taken off. Our seven-year-old lost one of his front teeth, which for some reason changes his smile completely making him look about three years older. Our twelve-year-old took on a leading role in her play and our fifteen-year-old celebrated getting her learner’s permit.

And all of these milestones, sneak in disguised as normal parts of parenting as if they don’t change you and stop you completely in your tracks. And maybe that’s the really miraculous thing about bearing witness to the way our kids are growing and changing, it does make us stop, take a breath, and reflect for just a moment on what is really important in life.