As the mother of three boys I am conscious of the choices they make, especially when it comes to choosing partners. I can only hope they choose someone who they love and who loves them back, but also someone who I can get along with. I am mindful that I also have to try to be friendly and open and not infringe on their relationship. Those of us who have sons become aware that, as their independence grows and they find the person they want to settle down with, their relationship with us changes. It isn’t that they love us any less. They simply have different priorities.
Yesterday my eldest son married the love of his life and I became mother-in-law to a girl who is beautiful in all ways. It was a gorgeous wedding at a lovely winery setting. I was honoured when they asked me to write something for their ceremony and to read it. Here is what I wrote:
I can’t be the only first-time mother who is anxious,
wondering if my son is sleeping, eating,
growing as he should.
A son – what do I know about boys?
I can’t be the only mother of a son who worries
about broken bones and illnesses and the fights
he has with his brothers.
I can’t be the only mother who questions
if he will ever study or find an interest
which doesn’t include sport.
I can’t be the only mother who loves her children
until it hurts, but love is not protection,
it won’t stand between them and life.
And love means letting go,
trusting they will be alright.
I can’t be the only mother of a son who is fearful
about who he falls in love with, dates and,
eventually brings home to dinner.
I can’t be the only mother of a son who has heard
the terrible stories about the sons
who no longer talk to their mothers
whose lives are no longer shared
the grandchildren they never meet.
Am I the only lucky mother of a son who has
fallen in love with a girl
so kind and generous and inclusive that
I know I have not lost a son
I have instead gained a daughter.
But, not only have I gained a daughter, I have become a small part of a much larger family. A family who have been so welcoming, it is a pleasure to know them.
And then it dawned on me: with every marriage, every partnership and every birth we build our living family trees. In years to come these trees will be consigned to both the paper and virtual worlds in documents and certificates, DNA samples and genealogical charts, but right now, right here, we are creating the living versions. At the wedding yesterday branches of different families joined together to celebrate the beginning of a new limb on four family trees – those of both of their parents. How wonderful that we can see genealogy in action!