“A son is a son until he takes a wife; a daughter is a daughter all of her life.”
I don’t have any daughters, so I really couldn’t tell you if this saying is true.
But I know it scares a lot of boy moms.
I have six boys. And, whether they like it or not, they will be my boys all of their lives. They don’t get out of that one so easily, wife or no wife.
I love being a ‘boy mom’. I love everything about it. I love the rough and tumble, the dirty messes, the stinky bedrooms and the muddy uniforms. I love the kisses and hugs, the snuggles and cheek nuzzles, and even the text messages sent home, asking “what’s for dinner.”
So if you think I’m going to give all of that up, just because my son will someday get married, you’d better think again.
There is something truly amazing about raising boys, that I don’t think a girl mom has a chance to experience.
When you are a mom to a little boy, you are that boy’s whole.wide.world. You are the shining star in his little universe.
And even as he grows older, everything in his day still somehow starts and ends with you.
Who does he hug goodbye before walking out the door? You. Who does he text when he forgets his uniform? You. Who does he beg to drop off an extra sandwich at school just because lunch sucked – again? That’s right – you.
He looks for you in the stands at every game. He asks you for help with his job application. And he tells you all about his friends, and how they have no respect for their moms.
He loves your meatloaf, apple pie and monster cookies.
And when he heads off to college, it’s you that he texts every night, just to say goodnight. (Well, okay, maybe for the first year only….). But it’s you that he can’t wait to tell when he landed that awesome new job, and you he calls when he wants to know how to cook a roast in a crock pot.
It’s you he talks to when he just had his first fight with his girlfriend.
And you he seeks when he wants to know how to tell if she is the one.
It’s you that slowly gets pushed out of that number one spot in his life.
Watching your son fall in love is no easy task. It’s not for the faint of heart. It takes a good, strong woman.
It is a job only a mother can do.
But it doesn’t have to mean that we lose our boys forever.
I remember the first time my son texted me to tell me he wasn’t coming home. We were headed to the lake for the weekend, and we wanted him to come. But he declined; his girlfriend didn’t want him to go. It was her weekend off and she wanted to spend it with him.
I was mad. How dare she make him choose between his family and her?
It was the first of many let-downs.
Over the years, she has been the one to bake him cookies and surprise him with dinner after a long day at work. She is the one he snuggles up with and the one he calls to vent his day’s frustrations to.
She is the one who takes him shopping for dress clothes. And she is the one who bakes him his birthday cake.
He texts her to say good night.
We started losing him to her for holidays and weekend traditions.
And while I love her, it still stings a little, coming in number two.
I know our job is to raise our children and then set them free. We want them to grow up to be independent and able to take care of themselves. I know someday we won’t be here for them. And I know that they are meant to go off and start their own families.
But knowing doesn’t make it any easier. Knowing only tends to make us moms cling harder.
You put twenty some years into blood, sweat, love and tears for your baby. You give of yourself over and over again, until there is nothing left to give. And then you pick yourself up and give some more.
Only to pass him off to that pretty young thing standing in line.
And you hope you did your job well, hope that you raised him right. Pray that he treats her just as well as he treated you – no, better. And that she loves him just as fiercely as you do.
And then you kindly step aside.
Even though it sucks, even though it isn’t fair, it is our job to humbly accept the number two spot in our son’s life. Because if we don’t, it will cost him dearly.
A boy is meant to leave his mom and cling to his wife. The man should never have to choose. Because if you force him too, and he chooses you, he loses her.
And we love our boys too much to put them in that kind of pain.
I got a text from my son’s girlfriend the other day. In it was a picture of him and the words, “Do you think these pants are too small for him?”
To which I replied, “They look a little too tight, and like, if he takes a step, he’ll be waiting for a flood to hit.”
She texted back, in all caps, “THAT’S WHAT I TOLD HIM!”
A son adores his mom; she can do no wrong. She is the lady that he will stack every other girl up against.
And no matter how tall that order is, eventually, he will find someone who measures up.
And when he does, she will be the shining star in his grand universe.
And you? You will stand backstage, quietly applauding and waiting for your cue. Just because his world no longer revolves around you, it doesn’t mean you don’t still have a leading role.
After all, he is your son.
Shannon Lambert is a freelance writer living in Northern Minnesota. She writes for parenting blogs and nonprofit organizations, and has a background in social work and psychology. She blogs about building a relationship with your child at makingmommas.com.