This Is What I’ve Always Wanted for My Son, but It Stings

It’s one thing to know something, quite another to feel it. My son has found the one for whom his soul yearned and that’s a good thing. It’s not merely a good thing, it’s a wonderful and perfect thing. She’s everything I dreamed of for him, and more. 

engaged couple
We all want our children to be happy (via Twenty20)

This is what I wanted for him

It’s exactly what I have always wanted for him. It’s what I want for all of my children and for all of yours. It’s what I wanted for myself at his age and what I got; a life partnership that has been flawed and wholly imperfect but also the single most essential and magical thing in my life. 

I can’t imagine my life or his devoid of that kind of love and commitment. But, now that he has found her, my grown son is no longer mine. I know, I know, he never was, but tell that to my heart which is simultaneously exuberant and heavy. 

I’d heard it said that once your children find their partner things change between you, and I had nodded knowingly because I thought I understood. But the knowing and the reality are worlds apart.

They belong to each other now

They belong to each other now. They do. They should. They must. 

But, the worshipful eyes that once looked at me as if I held his whole world in my hands, now gaze at her. The chubby little hands that clung to me as if he would rather die than let go, now reach for hers. 

The at-first clunky and then more agile feet that ran to me with everything, the good, the bad and the ugly, now seek her out. 

I have not been replaced, I have willingly and happily relinquished the top spot to her. But…I’d be lying if I said this was easy. It’s not. I respect his adulthood and we have a solid loving relationship that I hope portends a healthy and emotionally fulfilling relationship with his partner. But I am losing a piece of him, a piece that I was never meant to keep and that without any outward show of drama, I will let go while attempting to reign in the inner turmoil. 

Years ago I overheard my mother speaking of me to a group of my friends. Sitting in my family room, with a slight chuckle, she told them that after I met my husband she and my father never saw me again. It was an obvious and blatant perversion of the truth, as we had just spent the entire day with them. In fact, we saw each other all the time. But, I sort of get it now. 

Her English is imperfect but I get what she was saying. Of course I saw my parents after I got married but did I ever really see them again? Not really, certainly not in the way I had seen them before. 

They need me less and that’s okay

I didn’t love them less, but I needed them less. They were the foundation upon which my life was built, but I needed space to create a new life. They were no longer the structure within which I functioned, my husband and then my children were. 

So it is for my son and his partner now.

There’s a time for every purpose under heaven and now is the time for them to build and the time for me to let them.

More Great Reading:

To The Woman Who Will Keep My Son’s Heart Someday

About Grown and Flown

Mary Dell Harrington and Lisa (Endlich) Heffernan are the co-founders of Grown and Flown the #1 site for parents of teens, college students and young adults, reaching millions of parents every month. They are writers (Lisa is a New York Times bestselling author), moms, wives and friends. They started the Grown and Flown Parents Facebook Group and are co-authors of Grown and Flown: How to Support Your Teen, Stay Close as a Family, and Raise Independent Adults (Flatiron Books) now in paperback.

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