The very moment your child is born the phrase, “This is the greatest age” becomes common place in your inner thoughts and frequent in your conversations with other parents. That first week when your little newborn cocoons herself from breast to shoulder… to the first giggle (who cares if it’s gas)… to the moment she sleeps through the night… to the first time you hear the words, “MaMa” out of her precious little mouth, all of these moments are monumental in the eyes of a parent.

And, just when you thought it couldn’t get better, that little helpless baby becomes a little helpful being who talks and walks and offers to dress herself, not caring that the hand-me-down hunting boots don’t really go with the pink tutu that adorns the purple princess dress. And, you think… “this is the greatest age!”

Then, that little princess looses her front teeth, heads off to kindergarten with tears in her eyes, makes the 3rd grade volleyball team, sings the solo at the Christmas pageant and is chosen to be the 8th-grader to crown the Blessed Mother for May Crowning, and the whole time, you revel in the comfort that “this is the greatest age.”

And then, much to your surprise, it happens again. That cute little girl begins to grow into the beautiful young lady God intended her to be, and soon you begin to realize that the time spent in high school making new friends, getting involved in activities, giggling with girlfriends to the wee hours of the night, and growing as a child of God as she delights in her activities at church all certainly must be proof that this is “the greatest age!”

The truth is, she will probably go on to college, become a young adult who will make a positive impact on her coworkers, maybe she will become engaged, get married, and have children… and the whole time, you will think, “This is the greatest age!”

Why? Why with each new stage do we think “this is the greatest?” The answer is simple.

This life, from the very beginning, has been a gift from God. There can be nothing greater. Life is the greatest gift. Christ, Himself, gives us that gift of life in the Eucharist. “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life” (Jn 6:53-54).

So as a parent and as a child of God, I thank Him daily for the gift of life, and I take comfort in knowing that this time with my children is “the greatest age!”

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