On a glorious evening along the Virginia shore I sat on the front row on the right side of the aisle as my son promised his life and heart to his beautiful bride. I was filled with joy watching the God-glorifying ceremony. But somewhere, on the hidden side of my heart, resided a twang of bittersweet sadness.
I remember the day my son was born- looking into his brown eyes and counting his perfect little fingers and toes- and marveling at the love I possessed for someone so new. It frightened me a little to feel such a fierceness already. When I was pregnant with my second child, I even worried a little. How could I ever love another child as much as I loved this one?
Then I discovered one of the great mysteries of parenting. God would build a capacity of love in my heart as each child was added I could never have anticipated. Love took on dimensions to which I had previously been unaware even existed, and it multiplied exponentially with each additional soul.
But back to that night in May of 2015, sitting on that front row, with joy beating through ever fiber of my body. I have to admit there was an accompanying feeling of sadness. I no longer stood as the first lady of my son's heart, and never would again.
And that is exactly how I raised him. I raised him so that someday he would love someone else more.
- I tried to teach him to treat me as a gentleman would, so that someday he would treat his wife that way.
- I tried to teach him the importance and value of romance, so that someday he would know how to romance his wife.
- I tried to teach him the value and sanctity of marriage, so that he would value and honor his marriage above every other relationship.
- I tried to teach him to esteem women and their roles, so that he would esteem his wife and all the many ways she would contribute.
While the mystery of parenting may be the immense love you feel, the paradox of parenting is that by doing it right you work yourself right out of the first place in their heart. The sacrifices, efforts, expenses, and labor of parenting, as well as the very real laying down of your life, are all to prepare them to serve someone else. You don't teach them character and work ethic so they can take care of you. You do it so they can take care of someone else. You do it to prepare them to raise their own family.
Many of life's great moments involve joy and sorrow walking hand in hand. Just as minor keys are important to any melody, and just as Sadness was important in the clever movie "Inside Out," that paradox is okay.
Moms- we have to let our boys "leave and cleave" and REJOICE when that happens. It means we did our job right.
"'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.' So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate." Matthew 19:5,6