When the doctor placed our first baby boy (then second, then third, then fourth) in my arms I knew. I knew they would grow up. I knew they each would have their own place on the planet, a life, friends, maybe college, a home, a wife, children, a job. I knew they would grow up and leave. I studied their tiny, chubby baby toes, kissed them, wondered at how much joy and love my heart could hold; but somewhere deep inside I ached. Then, with each step they took toward independence my heart was divided:
weaned...walking...talking...potty-trained (no feelings of bittersweetness here-it was party time!)...first sleepover at a friend's house...classes outside the home...driving...a job. You get the idea. It was wonderful to watch it all happen. The best part was watching them loving Jesus more and more as they grew.
But deep in my heart that silly poem resounded:
A daughter's a daughter all of your life, but a son's a son til he takes him a wife
and my heart filled with fear. I didn't want to lose them. We had shared so much of life together. I'd learned more as their teacher than I ever did in school, and it was amazing to see everything through their eyes. I loved being their friend and teacher and mom all at the same time and discovering history, science, great literature, etc. right along side them.
When they hit the teen years I panicked inside. I felt like my spot on the earth was going to be replaced by each boy and I would no longer be needed here. I imagined them trampling me in their hurry to grow up and out. And in some ways that did happen for a time. They had to stretch and push and race ahead to find their own identity. For a time I did feel left behind. Useless.
But now I'm seeing that poem in a whole new light. I feel sorry for whoever wrote it. That person wasn't the mother of my sons. They haven't left me behind. So far they don't see me as someone taking up some of their oxygen. (They might when the time comes to put a bib on me and feed me but for now I'm safe.)
Our sons have moved over and made room for us in their hearts. It actually seems like they want to spend time with us. They call almost every day. They come home as often as they can. We still laugh together, play games together, share meals. They've managed to somehow make my husband and myself still feel like people who are needed and enjoyed. Not only that, but our two oldest sons have blessed us with 2 wonderful daughters. I'm not the lone female anymore and I have 2 new friends! Our sons have not only not left us behind, they've moved over and made room in their hearts for their wives-to-be and their parents.
I wasted so much time worrying about that poem-and I feel like I discredited our sons as well.
I think I wrote a similar post a long time ago-if I did forgive me. I once read something that would apply here: It's amazing how old people can remember stories from long ago but forget how many times they've told them....