Bethanie woke up first this morning. That is normal, but it was fun to give her a "happy birthday" kiss in the quiet before everyone else got out of bed. In minutes, she was literally running around downstairs and she came to me and said in a breathless whisper, and with a little grin, "I think I'm faster now." Soon afterward, "I do seem bigger." My favorite moment of all was hours later at the mall, of all places, standing by the fountains hurling pennies in the water. I asked if she was making any wishes and she nodded, "I want to learn to fly!" I gave each of the kids three pennies, after taking stock of the quantity in my coin purse - but Bethanie got six. She turned six years old today, and that was the first milestone of the day.
Since we were already out, and getting out in the middle of the day is a big deal (I will refrain from saying "fiasco") with four homeschooled kids - I threw all caution to the wind and extended an already long shopping trip in order to hit one more store where I'd heard there were reasonably-priced First Communion dresses. Because, you see, Cayna is preparing to receive communion for the first time in May! This is exciting, yes. And a tremendous joy. It is also, in the heart of this relatively new-Catholic mother, completely bizarre to shop for an all-white dress and a veil for your seven year-old daughter. We are helping prepare Cayna to draw closer to Jesus in an all-new way. And Jesus is helping prepare ME to rely on Him in new ways as my daughter grows up. (He is also, thankfully, flooding our hearts with forgiveness because Cayna had a tantrum in the mall parking lot and I wasn't too nice to her in response.)
Joseph needed dress shoes. And he was such a patient, even-tempered companion through the throes of maniacal shopping-with-younger-siblings that I probably would have bought him his own convertible sports car just to thank him for being good. But I kept quiet about the sports car. Our shoe shopping, meanwhile, led us to the men's department. My firstborn now wears a man's shoe size. If that ain't a HUGE indicator that your kid is growing up, I don't know what is. (Well, yes I do, I guess. There was the first purchase of deodorant. And the extension of bedtime. And so on and so forth.) But really, men's shoes??? (Little economic sidenote here: black slip-on dress shoes in the kids' section cost $19.99 at the store we first tried. Same style in men's? A cool $60.00.)
Once safely home from the three-hour shopping bonanza, I marveled at how I could experience three major parenting milestones in ONE day. And then John needed a diaper change. Nothing like a wet diaper to remind me they're not quite off to college yet.