Often these are joyous occasions, mixed with happy tears and at other times they can be heart-wrenching and those sobs aren't so easy to shed. It's all part of parenting and we wear our lines and wrinkles like a badge of honour.
You just never know when the next one is going to hit ...
This morning I had a face which would have been fit for Halloween as my mascara and eyeliner went southwards. Yes, dear reader, I watched the new John Lewis Christmas advert just before heading off to do the weekly shop. A bad move. I'm convinced I frightened small children and old age pensioners as I pushed my trolley around in a daze.
If you haven't seen it yet, have a little look and then I'll tell you why it moved me so much.
Are you dry-eyed? If so, stop reading! Or maybe read on and see what caused me to sob.
My boy will always be my baby but he's now a fine young man who works hard and plays hard - despite the troubles he's had in the past. Stick with me and I'll give you the background to why this affected me so much.
When my baby was about two, he had an obsession with Pingu. Remember him? (Our female cat is even called Pinga - as in the sister).
Everyone we knew bought our son penguins in all shapes and sizes - his bedroom became a shrine to them. But not one of them meant as much to him as 'Teeth' - a particularly mouthy looking specimen picked up at a car boot sale for 50p. Teeth went EVERYWHERE with him. The dentist would chuckle when she saw him in the chair and, on one occasion, I bumped into a lady at the college where I was teaching at the time. We stopped, assessed one another whilst trying to remember how we knew each another and she suddenly shouted, 'Teeth!' - it was my son's dental nurse! Yes, he was a well-known penguin, talked about around town!
The John Lewis ad became more poignant for me as Teeth too found a pal. Not a wife, but a side-kick in the shape of 'Gums'.
Hubbie was working in The City at the time and he called me on his way home from work to say that he'd seen Teeth's double attached to a lamppost on the side of the street. It turned out he belonged to a tramp and was part of his patch. I knew we had to have him, even though hubbie told me he was a fatter, fluffier version of Teeth (at this point Teeth had been in the washing machine a few times and lost a little weight). A few quid to the tramp for some food and drink, and Gums was on the tube coming back to live with us.
As soon as hubbie appeared at the door with him, our wide-eyed son looked in awe and shouted, 'Teeth!' And so they became two - who still live, in pride of place, on his bookshelf.
Watching this advert took me on a journey of being a mum and all Christmases past - that first Christmas Eve with a new baby, and all the joy and worries you know it will bring, and then moving on to the excitement of secrecy, stuffed stockings and those sneaky visits from Santa.
It's role reversal now as our son isn't asking for anything for Christmas. He has a job that pays well - so what he wants, he buys. Now, HE'S the one planning and plotting with excitement. And that makes me happy/sad.
So, John Lewis, I know you only do this to make us flock to your shops and buy your products (I'm not stupid!) but your ad made me think about family, childhood, love, pride and cherishing every moment.
Thanks for wrecking my face!
By the way, I write books too! Get your Kindle copies here. (In paperback at Lulu)