I really want more out of my life. I’ve been thinking about what’s missing, and one thing I want to get better at is celebrating milestones.
This requires slowing down the pace of life enough to recognize and then celebrate them. My oldest turned 7 this weekend, and while we had a wonderful day of celebrating with friends and family, eating good food and opening presents, I want to mark this as a milestone for him. I don’t think every birthday needs to be significant beyond the regular marking of the year passing and celebrating that person’s presence in our lives. But this year I want Charlie to know how proud I of him, that I seem him maturing, that I love his sweet spirit, his willingness to help, his love of baseball, and his creative mind. I am starting to really see his temperament develop and I even see hints of manhood, and the man he will be one day.
My husband and I discussed ways to mark the year in a unique way and settled on an idea we had when Charlie was born — for he and Charles to take a camping trip just the two of them once Charlie was old enough. So I’m scheduling for them to go camping overnight one weekend next month. I’m also looking for small changes in our daily and weekly routines to somehow mark that he has turned a corner, that in the continuum from childhood to adulthood, he’s moved forward, make progress worth celebrating.
We need to acknowledge and celebrate beginnings, endings, and transitions. I think this is one reason that being busy and living a hectic cluttered life is draining and stressful. We don’t notice significant changes and then life becomes one long continuous line of daily and weekly routines.
I’m still working on slowing down and simplifying, but one of my goals is to start celebrating the changing of the seasons with my kids. This could be as simple as adding events such as the first day of spring to the calendar and deciding to plan a special activity for that day, even if it’s just ‘eating dirt’ (chocolate pudding, oreo crumbs and gummy worms).
I think the key here is mindfulness. We all know the feeling of ‘celebrating’ holidays such as Christmas or Easter with a flurry of activity and then lamenting that maybe the reason for the season got lost in the midst somehow.
Sometimes the bigger ones are easier to remember and it’s the smaller ones we miss, and vice versa. Andrew started rolling over this week. Babies and toddlers help with the small milestones because they are more frequent, and filled with joy and wonder. First tastes of new flavors, first tooth, first steps.
For now I’m doing well with these small victories, and finding the right balance between capturing the moment with photos, and simply stopping and savoring the moment with my boys while they’re still little. Right now seeing the baby and the toddler’s growth has a unique element compared to my older boys young firsts because now they are old enough to enjoy these small milestones with us. I love hearing Charlie call me from the living room, “Mom, Andrew rolled over! Mom, I think he said ‘move’! He said a word!”
Some bigger upcoming milestones and victories that I want to celebrate are: Ben potty-training, paying off some debt that we have targeted to pay off by this fall, weaning Andrew, losing 24 pounds and getting back to my pre-baby weight, finishing fixing up our house. Larger milestones I have not handled as well in recent years. I need, my family needs, to slow down enough to experience these milestones as they happen — to see growth, to talk about its significance, to let some be bittersweet, and others be full of joy; we need to celebrate victories and then climb together and find ourselves at a new vintage point, ready to see where we were and where we’re going, ready for new plans, goals, growth, life – together.
What are some milestones that you want to experience? To stop and feel them as they happen, to consider their significance, to mark with your family as a point that was in the future and now is in the past?