You’ve heard it before and some of you are currently living it. Time does move more and more quickly as your children grow up.

When my boys were preschool age, time seemed to move very slowly. The time before kindergarten seemed like a lifetime because, well, it was a lifetime. Theirs.

The early elementary years still felt like they were moving along slowly and in good order. But something changed around fourth or fifth grade. I’m pretty certain the years got shorter. Soon eighth grade graduation loomed, and before I knew it we had a son who had graduated elementary school. Not only did it seem impossible that I was that old, it seemed impossible that my son was actually that old.

Someone told me the high school years would fly by. I hoped they were wrong. They weren’t. My youngest is cruising into the final days of ninth grade. Gulp.

And I am reminded that you have less time than you think and more influence than you realize as a parent.

You can’t get time back and you can’t slow it down, but you can make the most of the time you have. The best way I know to do that is to mark moments. It’s critical to mark milestones. As my friend Jeff Brodie says, “parents need to celebrate spiritual milestones regularly and regular milestones spiritually.”

Actually, we do a pretty good job of marking major milestones–from taking a first step to birthdays to baptism and school graduations. Here are moments you can celebrate along the way that might otherwise slip by unmarked:

Losing the training wheels

Losing a tooth

Reading a book all by themselves

First school play performance

Getting an allowance

First school sports team

First night babysitting

Starting their first paid job

Getting their driver’s licence

Acceptance into college

You don’t need to throw a party, but coming alongside your child and letting them know you noticed, God noticed, and this time is significant can really help them realize that’s what happening really does have meaning.

And of course, if you don’t celebrate these milestones, you might miss them. While you can’t get them back and you can’t slow down time, marking time makes it more meaningful for everyone.

What other moments can you think of that you can celebrate? Which ones have you celebrated along the way?