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7 Awesome Things About Having a 7-Year-Old

My oldest kid just turned 7. While each year of parenting feels momentous, there is something special about this one. The age comes with its challenges—like constant poop and butt jokes—but there are some great parts, too. Here are seven of my favorite things about being the mom of a 7-year-old.

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1. He's more independent

Just a few short years ago, my son used to throw himself down on the ground in agony every time I hugged someone other than him. Now, those uncomfortable moments feel light years away. He's all about drop-off play dates or birthday parties with friends. He gets himself dressed in the morning and can hang out in the yard by himself. While it's bittersweet that he needs me less, I'm proud of his burgeoning independence.

2. But he still needs me

Those moments when he cuddles up to me are extra special.

Because my son's independence is growing, those moments when he cuddles up to me or simply exclaims, "Mommy!" in a syrupy sweet voice are extra special. When he scrapes a knee or feels sick, he still wants his mom. These tender times are rare, and I'm able to notice and appreciate them more now that they're less frequent.

3. I'm used to being a mom

The first few years of parenting were surreal. Suddenly, my entire identity centered around being a mom. It took a long time to get used to my new life, one that orbited around someone else's needs instead of my own. But now after seven years, being a mom feels less surreal because I've got some years under my belt. At the same time, my kids are old enough now that I'm getting some much-loved pieces of my old life back.

4. He can read

Watching my son learn to read has been my favorite milestone to date. I love sneaking peeks at the concentrated look on his face as he pours through a book. Reading is one of my biggest pleasures and it's thrilling to watch him read quietly himself or to his little sister.

5. He's interested in the world around him

"What's that guys name? The one who you don't want to be president?" my son asked my husband the other day. He was also enthralled with football playoffs this winter, and his sports knowledge now shadows my own. It's fun to be able to have conversations about the way our world works, and I look forward to increasingly complex talks we'll have in the years to come.

6. He keeps me active

On days when I don't have it in me to get to a yoga class or exercise, I can count on my son to help me get some exercise. He's always up for some driveway soccer or a bike ride. He keeps me moving, albeit tired.

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7. He actually sleeps

My son was a terrible sleeper as a baby and toddler. He woke every few hours until he was 17 months old. Every nap was a battle until he gave them up completely. Now, after a day of learning and expending energy, he's tired and ready for bed. He sleeps until morning, when he gets up and hangs out by himself for a while before waking us up.

For me, parenting has gotten a little better with each year. Hang in there moms of littles—it gets easier.

Photograph by: Twenty20

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