I received texts from my daughter today that I never want to forget: “Your Finding the Moments blog is amazing. You are such an amazing writer.” When did she become this little adult with so many thoughtful, smart, responsible, sweet things to say? She’s always been sweet. I just feel like her brain has expanded a lot this year. 8th grade was a big year for her. I thanked her for her amazing comments that will majorly motivate me to write today. I also asked her if she had a topic idea for me. Her response was, “Milestones with your kids.” So here I go:

This year was a big one for my family. I am going to start with my baby. You see that I still call her my baby, but I call my 16 year old my baby too. Lillie is ten years old and in fifth grade she started middle school. Doesn’t that seem absolutely crazy to you? I don’t think fifth grade should be middle school. In fact, I think 5th and 6th grade should have their own school and 7th and 8th grade should have their own school.

Off she went to middle school and wow was this adjustment so much better than I ever could have expected. I told you before that I tend to underestimate her, but I am really going to stop doing that. She did such a great job and worked so hard. She met new friends and had amazing teachers. She took five dance classes and got a part in the school musical. It was such a good year for her. This was a big milestone for Lillie. It is summer while I am writing this, and she is off to sixth grade next year. It is such a cool experience to see how your children grow and change every year. It’s such a wonderful thing to witness. I’m so very proud of all my kids. They have come so far and so have I.

Let’s move on to my daughter Ella. Ella just finished 8th grade and is going to start high school in the Fall. Ella took three high school classes in 8th grade and had amazing grades the whole year. After many years of asking her, she finally tried out for the school musical and got an awesome part. She had such a good time with her school theater friends and the musical was so good. She joined clubs, became part of the national honor society, and was a school WEB leader. The Web leaders help the 5th graders adjust to middle school. The growth I saw in her this year academically, maturity wise, and responsibility wise were huge. She is leaving middle school as such a different person than who she came in as in 5th grade. I can’t wait to see how she develops in high school.

As I think about Ella going to high school, I feel nothing but pure happiness for her. I am not sad that middle school is over for her. In fact, I think the middle school years are the hardest, and I’m so proud of her for getting through it. It wasn’t easy and she had bumps in the road that I am proud of her for overcoming. She is a tough cookie.

I’m excited for what’s ahead for Ella and I have so much hope that she is going to love high school. It helps that I liked high school so much better than middle school. It helps that her brother is going to be a junior and loves their high school. Max goes first and paves the way for his siblings. I am thrilled for Ella’s next adventure and I’m behind her every step of the way.

Last, and certainly not least, is my oldest child Max. What a great year Max has had. I’m not going to tell you there weren’t some significant bumps. A first real girlfriend that didn’t end so well. I am glad that he had that experience. Every experience helps us learn about ourselves and grow as a person. My husband tells our son that he had to kiss a lot of frogs to find me and that warms my heart and reassures our kids.

Max tried football for the first time and absolutely loved it. He did so well academically. His grades blow me away. Right now, as I type this, he is at his first internship at a computer place. Max wants to go into computer science and will probably do data analysis. Time will tell because he has so many exciting options ahead of him. Max finished sophomore year with flying colors and has started joining some clubs. His summer consists of football, his internship and driving lessons. Yes, I just said driving lessons. It is so hard to believe that my son could be getting his license very soon. A scary and amazing milestone. I remember the independence and freedom that I felt when I got my license. It was an incredible feeling and is such a huge milestone. I keep telling Max about all the responsibility that comes with getting his license and I pray that he takes it very seriously. Especially since he will probably be driving his sister to school every day. Yikes!

I have my youngest in the world of middle school. My middle child is off to high school and my oldest is about to get his driver’s license. How am I handling all of this? How are you handling your children’s milestones?

I know that some of this may be making you feel sad. You may be thinking that they were just babies yesterday. You may wonder where the years have gone. You may wonder how you have gotten here.

I am here to tell you that while I want you to feel your feelings and let yourself feel sad – and – I also want you to celebrate. This is a sign of good parenting. We want our children to hit all these milestones. You want your child to go to college. You want your child to go to middle school. You want your child to get their driver’s license. This is what is “supposed” to happen. This is what you get to do with your children.

As we go through milestones with our kid’s I hope that we will:

  • Allow feelings. All of them. Sad, happy, scared…. All normal!
  • Celebrate achievements. I feel like we still need to celebrate Ella graduating from middle school. Time to pick a dinner or have a pool party Ella!
  • Please don’t compare your kids to other kids or to their siblings. Not every child is jumping right into college. College isn’t right for every child. Every child is unique and has their own journey. Not every child is going to thrive in the academic world. Not every child is athletic.
  • Celebrate your kids but also celebrate you. You helped to get them here. You did a good job. You made it here.
  • Talk to parents who have gone through the next step to get some pointers. Also remember that their child is not your child.
  • Discuss next steps and make a plan if needed. My daughter and I were just talking about classes for next year.
  • Make expectations clear to your child. I expect Max to let me know where he is going when he gets his license. He should ask, and I don’t want him to think he can just leave without telling me where he is going. “Bye mom, I’m going to football practice.” I expect him to drive slowly, patiently, and responsibly or he won’t drive.

I used to cry every birthday and grieve. My advice to myself and all of you is to stop grieving and to start celebrating. Trust that your family is ready for these next steps and don’t underestimate your kids. Kids are resilient. They can handle the next steps. If there are bumps in the road you will be there to support them and plan accordingly. We got this. On to the next milestones. Let us see how our children grow, learn, change and develop in this next year. Exciting stuff ahead.

Laughing, Learning, Loving,

Rebecca Greene, LCSW-R

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Whinypaluza Notes:

Whinypaluza Mom Group:

If you are looking for a supportive community, come join the free Whinypaluza Mom Facebook group.  I created this as I wanted us to have a place where we can talk about tips, strengths and challenges we are having.  It is another step I took to help everyone to know that you are not alone. The July Summer Challenge was a lot of fun. Come join us and bring a friend with you! I love to give away prizes. This group is going private so please find me on Facebook at Whinypaluza or Rebecca Greene and message me to ask for an invite. I’m also on Instagram @becgreene5 and @whinypaluza_mom. I am also on Tik tok @whinypaluzamom.

The Whinypaluza Schedule:

Whinypaluza Wednesdays: My weekly blog comes out every Wednesday.  I am always open to your topic requests.  A new Vlog (video blog) also comes out every Wednesday night on Facebook and You Tube live at 8:00 PM Eastern time to discuss the blog.  If you would rather listen to a podcast than watch a Vlog, you can wait for the following Wednesday and the Vlog is released on my Podcast.

Family Fridays: Every Friday morning a new Podcast is released.  Most of my episodes on Fridays are me discussing parenting and marriage with experts on the topic.  If you would rather watch the Podcast instead of listen, you can watch it on You Tube.  If you would like to be on my Podcast or know someone who would like to please message me on Facebook or Instagram or at whinypaluzamom@gmail.com