No, it’s not when the pain of childbirth is gone or potty training is successful. Nor is it when your child does their homework/cleans their room/takes out the trash without thirty-seven reminders. (Although that’s a pretty good one.)
I’m talking later on…when you’ve made it through a good chunk of the teen years. For the uninitiated, that’s when your darling offspring knows everything, doesn’t need to be told anything and will yes you to death at every single turn.
Then, one day, when you least expect…it will happen.
Your prodigy will turn to a friend or younger sibling and espouse something you’ve tried to impress upon their formative brains (with little success, you thought) for many years now. They’ll say it with the same inflection and tone and gravitas as you used with them.
You may know a moment of shock. Surprise even. Then…the urge to smile will seize you. A word of caution here: try not to let your little angel know you caught them in a moment of adulthood. They’re still skittish about even remotely resembling their parental units yet.
Step away if you have to. Slip into the kitchen or bedroom, then let that fist pump high in the air and grin until your cheeks hurt. A moment of celebration is called for here! After all, a sliver of your vast knowledge, wit and wisdom made it through, lodged somewhere in their cerebrum, and they owned it!
Ahh…the joy of beating your head against the proverbial wall and then you are delivered of this sweet gem. But in hindsight, I missed a clue this day might come.
This hint…nay, this minor foreshadowing came when my eldest sprout was firmly lodged in the middle teen years. One day she arrived home from school, excited and empowered by something she had “learned” and “totally got” from her AP psychology teacher. What “it” was, I no longer remember…but I DO remember this. I––her mortal, flawed, clueless mother––had been telling her whatever “it” was for years.
So have faith and wait for your magical moment, my parent brethren. This, too, will come your way.
But in the meantime, congratulate yourself on navigating however long as a parent without eating your young. In case you wondered, humans don't. I checked.