One of our sons went through a rite of passage this past Shabbat. No, this one didn't warrant invitations, photographers and a big party.
As a matter of fact, it went by with barely a flicker of an eyelash by the rest of the community, and my son himself didn't seem particularly excited.
But I noticed. This week was the first time that he led Pesukei D'zimra in the Shabbat services in the synagogue. (Boys younger than Bar Mitzvah age are alowed to lead this one). I made sure to get to shul at the start of prayers, instead of setting the table and organizing my house and getting there about twenty minutes into things, as I usually do. And at the end I made sure to give him a big kiss and a "Yasher Koach" (used nowadays as "great job".)
A smart mother takes her naches (loosely translated as pride at children's accomplishments) wherever she can get it, and sometimes it comes in little packages like this week.
My parents were not observant, but they were very "Jewish". At family gatherings a familiar phrase uttered at parting was "only at simchas" and "you should get a lot of naches from your kids." My mother (may she rest in peace) caught my teenage self rolling my eyes at the last phrase once. She said to me, "miss, you can roll your eyes now, but someday you will know exactly what we mean".
Now I know exactly what she meant. I most certainly do.