They come fast and furious at the beginning of parenthood. The first week with a new baby is packed with firsts. First bottle, first diaper, first binky, first bath. Everything is a big deal. As the baby grows, those moments get a little more spaced out. First time sitting up alone, first time crawling, first tooth.

I guess it's been a little while since I experienced a moment like this. As your kids get older, the moments turn into things like first day of school, first game in a new sport, first school dance, etc. Again, the older they get, the more spaced out these moments become.

But I experienced a very cool and unexpected one today when my 14-year-old daughter got her braces off. We haven't seen her without braces in years. The last time we saw her without braces, the teeth in her mouth were crooked and squished (which is why she needed braces, of course).

Driving her into Dr. Neil Oliveira's office, I realized that this was going to be the last time I saw my metal-mouthed little teen. They took her in and I scrolled Facebook in the waiting room. Thirty minutes later, my daughter walked out and gave me a nervous little grin, revealing her new smile to me for the first time. No one had prepared me for it, but it was a pretty big parent moment. She walked in an awkward tween and walked out a high school beauty. Just like that.

These are the moments that make the chaos and stress of being a parent worth it. The big milestones are significant by definition, but recognizing and seizing onto these fleeting developmental moments with your kids makes life the sweetest.

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