My days while my kids are in school are usually spent working, writing, cleaning and taking care of our household. Today, I'm going to the movies.
I started the movie tradition the year my youngest started first grade. It was my treat for getting my kids this far -- a little mommy celebration. It marked the end of one phase of my life and the beginning of another. I went from full-time stay-at-home mom to part-time work-from-home mom and from the mother of preschoolers to the mother of grade-schoolers.
I've continued going to the movies the first week of school every year since. Sometimes I go by myself and sometimes I go with a friend. It's become a ritual that marks the passage of another year for me.
Even more than the turn of the new year, the turn of the school year causes me to reflect on where I've been as a mom and where God wants me to go. It's a time to ponder my kids and how they are growing -- physically, spiritually and emotionally. After a summer packed with time together, it's a great time to evaluate how we're doing as a family.
And, my trip to the movies each year is my way of marking these moments in time. It's a fun tradition that reminds me to take a moment to celebrate the mommy accomplishments of the year and begin planning for the next one. My movie trip has become a reminder for me to continue to be intentional in the way I deal with my children.
In the Old Testament, people set up stone altars when God did something they wanted to remember. They used the altar as a physical reminder of what God had done for them. In Genesis 35:3, Jacob built an altar, saying "Then come, let us go up to Bethel, where I will build an altar to God, who answered me in the day of my distress and who has been with me wherever I have gone.”
You could say my movie tradition is like those altars. It's a physical reminder to me to take a moment to stop and reflect on what God has done in our lives in the past year.
The time flies by so fast when it comes to our kids growing up. It's easy for us to get so busy that we forget to celebrate the moment. We forget to praise God for the wonderful changes happening in our kids. We are so caught up in getting to the next activity or the next stage of life that we forget to stop and savor the moment.
So, as your kids head back to school in the next month, I encourage you to take some time out and mark the moment. Think about all the things you have to celebrate about being a parent -- the accomplishments and growth of your kids, the lessons you've learned and the hopes you have for the future. Set them all out before God -- praise Him for the good stuff and ask for help with the tough stuff. Create a tradition of your own to remind you each year of all that's gone before and all that's yet to come.