My son just turned 9. Traditionally the big birthdays are 1, 5, 10, 16, 18. But I’ll be honest… 9 hit me pretty hard the other day because I realized it’s halfway to 18.
Half of our time with him as a child is gone. I know that our relationship with him will not end by any means at 18, but it will be different. And yet, I try to remind myself that our relationship is constantly different. In each stage, it changes a little because he changes so much and I change, too.
I feel like I just had him. In some ways I still feel like a new mom, a mom of littles… but my littles aren’t so little anymore.
We have walked through the baby days, the toddler days, the preschool days, and are now in the elementary days. And with my 9-year-old, we only have one more year of elementary school after this, so really we are on the cusp of middle school.
Honestly, I’m a little scared of middle school, high school and beyond. The world seems so big and he still seems so small. I have to remind myself that the next nine years will take as long as the first nine.
As parents, we face the challenge of preparing our kids for life beyond 18 — which is huge! But we get to do it one day at a time.
I am thankful for each day of the past nine years — even the hard ones. I’m not one to see life through rose-colored glasses; being a parent is hard and it is hard work. But I am thankful for the fruit that those hard days have produced.
My son is growing into a person whom I adore and it’s been a blessing to be his mother. Looking too far ahead scares me because so much is unknown.
Instead of looking forward, I will look back on what I do know: we have been gifted nine beautiful years with our son and I thank God for that. I will walk into the next nine (and hopefully many more) years with gratitude and hope.
No matter where you are in your parenting journey, whether you are celebrating your baby’s first birthday or 18th birthday, if you start to feel overwhelmed or scared, I want you to pause… and to look back on what you do know and on how far you have come. And I hope that will give you the strength and the courage to meet the next challenges of parenthood — one day at a time.