Grinning, he held up the pink stuffed monkey and pointed: “Ah-da!” The monkey’s name was Ah-da. My eyes misted, because at almost 3 years old, this was one of the first times he had voluntarily said a word other than mama and dada, and it was the first time he had given a name to something.

To an outsider, his simple word seems routine.

To me, it represented a mountain climbed, a tiny foretaste of things to come. 

Other such mountaintops include the moment I realized my eldest son was no longer weeping before each school day, or the first time he gently helped his baby brother instead of overwhelming him with his size and roughness. I saw a tiny foretaste of things to come when I spotted my middle son leaning over the couch, reading the words “Mat sat on Sam” without help, and the first time my youngest went to the toilet completely on his own.

These are truly the small moments in my day, seemingly insignificant in the totality of raising my boys. Tiny ripples in their life, noticed only by their mother.

Some of these tiny moments make barely a ripple in the temporal world while making huge waves in the spiritual world. One night my eldest grabbed my arm and told me he could tell me the whole Bible in three words: “God loves you.” And there was the time I was in the bathroom and overheard a conversation about Jesus, weeping while just around the corner my 5 year old prayed over my 3 year old, or the time the 4 year old was overhead sweetly singing the words of Ephesians 3:17-19 to his baby brother.

These moments deal a deep blow the enemy, but are easily missed in the day-to-day of raising rambunctious boys.

My fellow boymoms know what I mean by the day-t0-day of raising rambunctious boys:

  •  the wrestling that starts from the moment they get together, and morphs from playful to spiteful and back to playful before you can pull out a whistle.
  • the combined noise of poop jokes, fart sounds, and voices that are incapable of volume control.
  • the breaking, ripping, cutting, smashing, and all around constant demolition mode.

It’s so easy to miss the beautiful moments in the midst of the crazy. But when I take time to step back from the noise and examine all these tiny ripples, together they become a beautiful mosaic of furrows and rises. This is a mosaic that can only be truly cherished by me.

When I see my child grow in a small way, a way that only a parent would notice, I feel a bit like Mary, the mother of Jesus, treasuring up all these things and pondering them in my heart. (Luke 2:19) Sometimes I take out the little memories, dust them off, and examine them in the light of where my boys are now, and I can see how God works in all things. I hope someday to be able to dust off those memories and see how these little moments formed them into the men they have become.

I have to be present to notice these little gifts, these small glimpses into the men they will grow up to be, and I try to ensure that I write them down each time. It’s these little moments, these tiny ripples that are my favourite part of raising boys and being their mom. 

Have you noticed some of these little ripples today: these tiny glimpses of who they will become, or something that you can quietly rejoice over? If so, how do you like to capture the moments? Here are a few suggestions of ways to record those moments, but please feel free to add your own ideas in the comments.

  1. I use the Notes app on my phone. I have a separate file for each child with a running list of these little moments categorized by age.
  2. Many people take photos or videos of these little moments, sharing them or saving them for personal review only. I often share my own special moments on Instagram or Facebook. Come join me there?
  3. You can go “old school” and simply write them down in a notebook or on your calendar.

These little ripples are the things most easily forgotten, but when remembered, they create a beautiful treasure to keep as a memory of your time with your children.

(PS If you have a whole houseful of boys with no girls, you may like my slightly less serious post, “The 9 best reasons to live in a houseful of boys“!)