Often we measure growing up in the big moments, the milestones, and celebrations. We mark baby’s first tooth, birthdays, and graduations. With every new milestone met, we say goodbye to what came before and ready ourselves for the next part of the journey.
But more and more I’ve been noticing the little things, the less important things.
Growing up is found in the girl who can now mow the grass.
Growing up is the child who can ride his bike alone to a friend’s house.
Growing up is the teen who can babysit.
Growing up is the kid who sets their own alarm without being reminded.
Growing up is the boy who can make dinner.
Growing up is sticking with a less-than-ideal first job.
It is these milestones that genuinely make me proud. It’s not the brag-worthy accomplishments that can fit on a bumper sticker. It’s not the medals and trophies. It’s not the acceptance letters or certificates of achievement.
No, I prefer to look at the responsibilities you can now shoulder because they give me a glimpse of the young adult you are slowly becoming.
These little duties you now assume will someday be your grown-up life.
Someday you’ll mow your own lawn.
Someday you’ll drive to meet up with your friends.
Someday you’ll care for your own children.
Someday you’ll get up early for work.
Someday you’ll make dinner for your spouse.
Someday you’ll have to deal with a less-than-ideal co-worker.
Life is much more than accomplishments and awards.
Life won’t hand you a trophy for showing up. There will be no big celebration for working late on a Wednesday. Instead, you’ll have to find joy in the little things, the things between the celebrations. Your reward will come in the form of a hug from a child or a thank you from a loved one. Your celebration may be a dinner with friends or happy hour after work.
And so I’ll continue to notice the small accomplishments. I’ll thank you for the simple achievements. I’ll be proud of the everyday responsibilities you manage.
Because it is these inconsequential moments that will carry you through life.
Once the celebrations are over, when there are no more trophies to be won, I’ll know you have what it takes to carry on. I know you’ll be successful in whatever may wait for you.
I know you’re growing up, and that alone is worth celebrating.