Mothers everywhere get a bit nostalgic this time of year, including me. With the beginning of a new school year, we like to look back as we look ahead. Where did the time go? In fact, I wrote about that very thing when my son recently turned 16.

But for today, instead of digging through our feelings as a new season unfolds, how about we talk about how much FUN it is to be a mom?

A wise friend once told me there is something to enjoy with our children at each and every age and stage. Thinking of life in “ages and stages” helps me live in the present, rather than mourn for what’s gone or fear what’s to come. If I live this way, I believe my regrets will be few.

My husband and I have 3 sons, and they go to 3 different schools: high school, middle school, and elementary school. What a ride I am on these days! These boys make me laugh, and they eat more food than I can keep on hand. Did you know a male high school athlete needs over 3,500 calories every day? I stock up on groceries and cross my fingers it will be enough. It’s usually not.

The other day, I walked out of church and found two of my sons wrestling in the grass. It’s not enough to do this all day long at home, now we’re bringing it to church? Well, why not? Singing songs like, “Just as I Am” on Sunday morning means we’re accepted just as we are. The boys were not on their feet, but on the ground, rolling around to ensure there would be lots of grass stains on their khaki shorts and polo shirts. Declaring the wrestling match over, I marched them to the van. We had to stop at the grocery store because my finger crossing didn’t work, and we were running out of food.

My youngest wanted to come inside with me, because he’s convinced I will buy him a special treat if he does. I tell him I won’t, but he comes with me anyway. We walk all over the store and grab what we can carry. When we finally reach the milk in the back of the store, (why is it always in the back?) I ask him to grab one gallon while I grab another. During this process I look at him for the first time—really look at him—and he looks like he’s been in a knockdown, drag out fight. He has red welts around both eyes and on his cheeks, scratches on his arms and legs…and I remember how allergic he is to grass. My word, I’m parading this child out in public looking like this? I declare this shopping trip is so over, and wonder if I can hide him when I pay for our food. When he asks me for a box of Whoppers I say yes, just to get out of there. The little stinker got his special treat after all.

I bet you have stories of your own that remind you how much fun it is to raise your kids. If you take a step back and look—really look—at the young people you’ve been given to raise, you won’t miss those moments. Your regrets will be few. And on those days when you’re wondering if you were a good mom, you will remember how much you laughed with them.

Or laughed at them, and bought them a box of Whoppers.

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Sarah Luke

Born and raised in Chicagoland, Sarah now calls Nebraska home. She’s been married for 19 years to Derek, her college sweetheart. They have three sons—one in high school, one in middle school, and one in elementary school. She worked as a registered nurse before staying at home full time with the boys. Maybe someday she will go back to nursing, but for now she loves keeping up with her family and enjoying the moments set before her. Swimming and reading are her favorite hobbies, along with boating and camping. She’s quick to point out that she camps in a camper, and leaves the tent camping to Derek and their boys!