In Changing Phases: A Time to Mourn and a Time to Dance

My eight-year-old son wants to talk about his favorite NFL football players and their stats Every day. The amount of sports trivia he can remember and recite is absolutely mind-boggling to me.

Let’s be honest, I’ve never been interested in football or any other sport for that matter. I’m not athletic. I did not grow up in a sports-loving family. I don’t particularly want to spend all day, every day talking about which quarterback holds the record for most passing touchdowns or who is the best rookie wide receiver this season.

However, I love my son. I want to connect with him. So, I’m working at learning football. My brain will probably never be able to store all the stats that his apparently can. But, I can now correctly identify the logo of each and every one of the 32 teams in the NFL. It doesn’t come naturally to me, but football trivia is a gateway to connecting with my son in this season of his life.

Aside from being sports-obsessed, my eight-year-old also has a sense of humor that makes no sense to anyone else. (My teacher friend who works with students from K-8th grade assures me this is true of all 3rd graders. I hope she’s right!). He has an argumentative, know-it-all streak. When he starts back-talking, I almost wish for the days of toddler tantrums. Between my four children, I have had lots of experience with toddler tantrums (and still do – my youngest is 2 ½!?). But, I don’t have a clue yet about how to respond to eight-year-old attitude.

It would be easy for me to mourn how my oldest son has changed over the years. Can we rollback time to when he would fall asleep in my arms? When we bonded over books about construction vehicles? When we finger painted and played catch with a squishy ball in the basement? When he didn’t argue with every word out of my mouth?

And, yet, I don’t want to go back in time. When my son asks me to play chess, it’s a real game. He wins just as often as I do. In my book, this is an upgrade from playing Candyland.

Just last week, I had the privilege of talking with my son in a deep and meaningful way about friendship. How to respond when a friend lies and does something hurtful, how to confront, and how to forgive. I witnessed my son work things out with his friend and they have been riding bikes or playing basketball together in our driveway after school every day this week.

My son now asks thoughtful questions about the Bible and about God. There are so many exciting opportunities to connect and to learn with him. So, I’m choosing to dance and celebrate who he is and how I can interact with him in this new phase of his development…even if it means learning much more about football than I ever wanted to know!

In the same way, I can find myself mourning the challenges of the two-year-old developmental stage of my youngest son. I can find myself wishing for the day when I will no longer have to watch the clock and remind him to use the bathroom at regularly scheduled intervals. Wishing for him to outgrow his separation anxiety when I drop him off in the church nursery each week. Wishing for the stage when he can clearly communicate what he wants without melting into tears.

But, I don’t want to wish for time to hurry with my youngest either. I want to savor and celebrate the moments that he crawls up into my lap for a story, the nights he wants me to rock him to sleep, and the last few remnants of baby talk he still uses. We aren’t having deep conversations about anything, but I can tell we are planting seeds. This week, he has been asking regularly, “God made me? God made you?” I’ve had the privilege of assuring him that yes, indeed, God made each and every one of us!

Time brings change. For us moms, this means our kids are constantly moving from one phase to another. Usually at a rate that is hard for me to keep up with. And while it is ok to acknowledge and mourn what is difficult at each stage (because there are always several difficult and frustrating parts to each stage!), I also want to learn to dance and celebrate what is exciting about each stage. Because each new stage presents unique ways to connect with my kids and opportunities to point them to their Creator.

?Written by Katie Duh

Soaking in the Truth

Scripture to encourage you:

  • “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: … a time to mourn and a time to dance.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4b, NIV)
  • “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11, NIV)
  • “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” (Luke 2:52, NIV) As my kids grow through each developmental stage, my prayer is that they also grow in wisdom and in favor with God and man.
  • “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12, NIV)

Music to inspire you:

Readings and Resources to come alongside of you:

Related Posts on Texting The Truth:

Living Out the Truth

Ideas to try:

  • Check out these Developmental Milestones Charts, created by the CDC for children birth to five-years old or for children 6-8 years old. When I take the time to learn about the stage of development my children are going through, I can be better equipped to connect with them.
  • Take some time praying individually for each of your children and the stage he/she is in. Ask God to show you how He is at work during this phase of his/her life. Ask Him for wisdom about how to connect with your children in this unique season.

Treasured Products we love:

  • Love You Forever by Robert Munsch A classic children’s book and one that I often include in a shower gift for a new mom! It still makes me cry every time I read it. A beautiful description of the challenges and blessings of each stage we experience with our children.

{These suggestions are ideas from novice moms. Sometimes our life situations need more. In that case, seeking out professional help is the right call.}



2 thoughts on “In Changing Phases: A Time to Mourn and a Time to Dance

  1. Katie, thank you so much for your honesty and perspective on this topic! It really spoke to my heart this morning. As a mom of a 12-year old, I have been a little bit stuck in my feelings of wishing she were in that younger phase, when she didn’t argue as much or give me an attitude. But I want to refocus my energy to learn to “dance and celebrate” what is good about this stage. Because I know there are some good things. Now to go and pray about this! Thank you.

  2. Anna, thank you! I’m so glad to know that I am not alone in these feelings. We are in this together as moms! And, better yet, God is reminding me that He has a plan as my kids are transitioning from stage to stage!

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