Black Friday Deals Inside!🎄

You know how people change, but deep down, really, they don’t?

This is my eldest son when he was 4 years old . . . and now.

Those curls! He’s still got them. They’re just a little shorter now. 

Those blue eyes! Still there. Full of sneaky schemes with a sparkle of sweetness.

That smile! It still lights up the world.

And that love for the beach! Also still there. It has always had a perfectly balanced effect on him—both calming and exhilarating at once.

He turned 10 a few months ago. I know a lot of people celebrate the “double digits” with excitement. We celebrated with a high energy go-cart birthday party, chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting at his request, and fun with family and friends. 

It was perfect. And he was happy blowing out the 10 candles (plus one for good luck).

Ten candles already? While I try daily to think of an even more accurate way to capture the idea that “I blinked, and 10 years had gone by” or “kids grow up so fast”—I truly can’t believe that my baby, my first baby, the boy who made me the mommy I had always hoped to be—is a decade old. It was faster than a blink. It was a  . . . ugh, I still can’t find the right way to describe it.

So, he’s 10. But that’s not what throws me into a swirl of deep down angst about the ticking clock that is our life. It’s the fact that, assuming he heads off to college or moves out after high school, he now has fewer years remaining under my roof than he has already had. Ten years here already. But probably only eight more to go. I’ve got a lot to cover in those eight years.

Suddenly, this boy of mine gets his own snacks. His own milk. He even knows how to make an omelet (better than I do, in all honesty!). 

Suddenly, his face looks a bit more “handsome” and a little less “cute”. 

He snuggles me less now. But he says “I love you” more. I recently taught him a secret code I learned from my own first grade teacher: “If I squeeze your hand three times, it means ‘I–Love–You.’” I bet a teacher could get in trouble for that these days, but back in the early 80s, it was OK . . . and it stuck with me. It’s a perfect, simple, subtle way that a growing boy—even in an instance where he doesn’t want to speak the words—can let his mommy know he still loves her. Even after a long, rough day together, where personalities clash sometimes, or misbehaving leads to time-outs or lost video game privileges, a simple triple-squeeze of the hand reminds him that I love him like I always have, and three squeezes back is all I need for a “right back atcha, Mom.”

If the next eight years go by as quickly as the first 10, I know I won’t get to do everything I want to with this boy of mine. So, rather than making a list of things to accomplish in those years, I’m making sure we’re making memories on even the most ordinary days.

How? It’s the simple stuff.

I make sure to be the mom who gets her hair wet on vacation.

I’m the mom who stops and listens to the headphones in the department store, rocking out to the sample tunes with my boy.

Today I was the mom who enforced that he couldn’t go to the amusement park because his behavior didn’t warrant it, and the mom who later took him school shopping and enjoyed a lunch out with him.

I’m the mom who gets him medicine if he has a middle-of-the-night headache, and the mom who rubs his back to soothe him after a scary dream.

I’m the mom who helps keep him organized for school, and the mom who encourages kindness (which, in a house of three boys, still often turns into a wrestling match!).

I’m the mom who gives her best at “momming”—teaching him to put his napkin on his lap and to look people in the eye, to spread kindness, to grow into an amazing man.

And the mom who is trying her absolute best to be everything her baby needs, even as he looks less and less like a baby every time he blows out one more candle.

Make your moments meaningful. People change over time, but also, they don’t. My boy still loves the beach, and he’s still tiny compared to the vast ocean. He’s still my same baby, and I’ll always be his mommy. And sometimes all it takes is three squeezes of the hand to remind me of how much that means to me.

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Karen Lesh

Self-proclaimed girly-girl Mom of Boys!  I create content about my parenting adventures and life as the only female in the household at and facebook and instagram. This parenting adventure is hard and hilarious, and I love to connect with others to share in the journey. Look for my work on Sammiches and Psych Meds, Scary Mommy, Today Parents, Her View from Home, and more, Off to wipe some pee of the seat now . . .

Six Feels So Much Bigger

In: Child, Kids, Motherhood
Little girl with horse, color photo

Six . . . Six is only one number more than five,  one grade, one year . . . but it feels so different. Five is baby teeth and new beginnings. Five is venturing out into the world, maybe making a friend. Meeting a teacher. Learning to ride a bike. Six took my breath away. Six looks like a loose front tooth—tiny and wiggly, soon to be replaced by a big tooth, one that will stay forever. Six looks like a bright purple bike zooming down the driveway. RELATED: When There Are No More Little Girls’ Clothes Six looks like playing...

Keep Reading

You Were Meant to Be Our Oldest

In: Child, Kids, Motherhood
Brother holding little sister on back

Dear oldest child, Thanks for taking one for the team. You’ve probably thought by now that Dad and I really have no idea what we are doing. You’re not wrong. Please don’t misunderstand, we have goals and ambitions as parents. We’re trying to raise you to be a healthy, positive, and contributing part of society. But you are—and have always been—our guinea pig. You are the test subject to this whole parenting thing. Each new phase you encounter brings another new phase of learning and growth. Unfortunately, with that comes growing pains, and you often take the brunt of those....

Keep Reading

The Bittersweet Reality of Your Baby Turning 5 Years Old

In: Child, Kids, Motherhood
Little girl lying on living room floor, color photo

Those first five. Those precious first five years have flown by. I blinked and here we are. I look back and think about all the times I wanted these days to go by faster. The times I couldn’t wait to get to bedtime. The days I wasted being irritable and angry because sometimes being a mom is just too hard. But now? Now, I wish I could have slowed it all down. Savored it a little longer. A little harder. That beautiful wild child who fought like hell from the moment she was born has been burning that fire ever...

Keep Reading

The Petrified-Squished-Spider Stage of Motherhood

In: Child, Kids, Motherhood, Tween
Bug squashed on windshield, color photo

There is a squished spider corpse dangling from the inside of my car windshield. I don’t know how long it has been there. Not because I don’t know when the time of death took place, but because I’ve lost track of the number of days it’s been a fellow passenger of ours. The burial service is past due. And a cleaning of my vehicle is so long overdue, if it were a library book I’d be banned from the library by now. When my husband removed his hat one evening while driving and used it as a spider swatter, he...

Keep Reading

Listen to Their Endless Chatter Now So They’ll Talk to You as Tweens and Teens

In: Child, Kids, Motherhood, Tween
Mother and young daughter talking on the couch

I’m a talker. I’m a spill-the-beans, over-sharing, rambling on about my latest fascination chatterbox. I love words, and so do my kids. I’ve spent over a decade listening to my kids share—often, as they all talk at once. They go on and on about their day, rambling about how their sibling has been driving them nuts, their shenanigans with their friends, and never-ending factoids about video games. So many words, so many significant and yet simple thoughts brought to life in our bustling conversations.  Sometimes I love all the chatter, and sometimes the sheer volume of it drives me to...

Keep Reading

Dear Kindergarten Graduate, My Hand Will Always Be Yours to Hold

In: Child, Kids, Motherhood

Tomorrow you’ll graduate kindergarten. You chose the perfect shirt for the occasion. It’s a blue and white button-up. “Get one with big checkers, Mom, not little ones,” was your request. I know it’ll make your eyes pop from under your too-big red graduation hat. It’s going to be adorable. You’re going to be adorable.  You’ve been counting down the days. You’re ready and, truthfully, I am too—even though I’m so often in denial about how quickly this time with you is passing. Didn’t you just start crawling? How is it possible you’ll already be in first grade next year? RELATED:...

Keep Reading

You Were Made to Be My Oldest

In: Child
Mom and three kids

You are my firstborn. My big. The one who made me a mama. The one who started this whole crazy, beautiful roller coaster ride the day I found out you were on your way. I remember tip-toeing to the bathroom before the sun rose and taking a pregnancy test. The flutter of excitement in my heart turned into a flutter in my growing tummy within just a few short months. And now here you are, seven years old and more incredible than I imagined in all my wildest dreams. You amaze me every single day with your humor, kindness, and...

Keep Reading

I’m a Kindergarten Mom at the Bottom of the Hill

In: Child, Kids, Motherhood
Boy holding hands with his mother, color photo

The local elementary school is perched atop an obnoxious hill. It is customary for kindergarten parents to walk their children to the top of the hill as the rest of the grades, first through fifth, having earned their badge of capability and courage, walk alone. Car line is off-limits for kindergartners, which means it’s a walk in whatever weather, whenever school is in session type of vibe. My oldest misses car line. I miss it as well. It’s so simple, convenient, and most importantly, warm and waterproof. But my youngest is a kindergartner, so for the last several months we’ve...

Keep Reading

When He’s 10

In: Child, Kids, Motherhood
Young tween doing homework at desk, side profile

My son is at an age where he couldn’t care less about personal grooming, his un-selfconsciousness both admirable and aggravating to me. “Let’s clip your fingernails,” I say. No. “Clean your ears.” No. “Cut your hair.” No, Mom, come on, I like it long. But a month or so before his birthday, if he was going to remain a boy and not a lion, he needed a haircut. So, we made some kind of deal, probably a bribe, and finally. Fine. “It’ll be long again before you know it,” I told him, as we walked together into the salon, “you know how...

Keep Reading

He’s Slowly Walking Away with Footprints As Big As Mine

In: Child, Kids, Motherhood, Tween
Teen boy walking along beach shore

The true measure of a mother’s love is her willingness to wake up before the sun on vacation. On a recent trip to the shore, my youngest son begged to walk the beach at dawn to look for shells. So, I set my alarm, tumbled out of a warm, king-sized bed with extra squishy pillows, glared at my dead-to-the-world husband, and gently woke my 11-year-old. Without so much as a drop of coffee, we headed out into the morning, the sun still below the ocean horizon. With each step, I shed my zombie-like state and took in the quiet, salt-kissed...

Keep Reading