Archive | April 2016

He’s My Baby! (part two)

Joyce and I continued our conversation about sons “leaving and cleaving” and how that might feel to a mother.  Sitting on a comfortable, floral-design couch in front of a square, oak coffee table that her talented husband had crafted, we looked out the windows to the waters of the lake, cresting in white caps in the steady wind.

“Just wait until you have sons of your own.  Then, you’ll understand!”

She doesn’t say it, but … she still might think it! says Joyce.

Our sons.  We pour our “blood, sweat and tears” into raising them to be hard-working, resourceful, contributing members of the human race.  We yell “Whoopee!” when they finally are … practically pushing them out of the proverbial nest They move out, and off they go to find a place of their own, and a love of their own.  They land jobs, settle down and start their own families.


Still, might there be just a bit of melancholy involved in the “leaving” part that is our dream for them?  Oh, it may have begun years before when we packed them off to college and wondered who was going to mow the lawn now and who was going to play the music we’d listened to and actually begun to enjoy and who was going to draw us to school concerts and rugby games and having to make Halloween costumes at the last minute?  But, a sense of loss might solidify when these men – yes, men – covenant with their beloveds – “until death parts us.”  No matter how much we’d like to turn back the clock (just for a bit) to re-live some of those sweet moments of their growing up, it’s official – they ain’t comin’ back!

A door closes.  A chapter ends.  And there’s no future in the past.

Perhaps, just perhaps, in some small way, and at certain moments, a mother may feel “left behind”.  After a job well-done, Mom watches her son “graduate” – and then finds herself at the chalkboard … in an empty classroom.

Are we sad for the leaving?  Yes.  And no.

Do we look forward to many more special times together?  Yes!  Do we celebrate the men they have become and are still becoming?  Sure do!  Do we love their wives and thank God for grafting these women into our families?  Absolutely!  Wouldn’t change a thing about how this has worked out so far!

“Why, then, are you crying?

Silly question!  Can we not be happy and sad at the same time?  Certainly.  And when those tears mix together, they make up the word “bittersweet“!



He’s My Baby!

2014-04-13 12.23.17This post is being written @ 38,000 feet on Southwest FL2547 from Chicago Midway to San Francisco Int’l.  It’s been a bumpy ride since take-off and my pen – yes, I really do write with pen on paper – has been jumping about on the page.  Still, a writer writes, and nothing will stop her!

I stufIMG_20160416_162246f my earbuds in …. I hate those things!  Has anyone found a comfortable pair?  They all seem to want to fall out of my ears … right at the best part of the song, story, interview. …. switch on the digital recorder and punch “play” and suddenly, I’m right back in Joyce’s kitchen, grabbing a cup of herbal tea.  Joyce always has a welcoming smile, even if youIMG_20160416_164129 drop by unannounced (Don’t try that with your DIL, by the way, unless she’s put out the welcome mat specifically for those kind of visits.) Joyce and I plop ourselves down on the sofa and started talking about forging new relationships with people we have known for decades and those we’re just getting to know.

Joyce was recalling the early years of her son’s marriage.

“I was really close to Ben back then…. when they were childless. … Honestly, I think I talk with Betsy more now than I do Ben.”

Joyce intimated that it had taken years to change how she interacted  with her son.  He had married while still in college.

“It’s kinda weird.  You feel bad, because you know he’s a man and he’s married, but that’s my baby!”

Seriously?  I had been under the impression that those very same emotions that I had been experiencing were the result of an improper perspective, an underdeveloped sense of self, immaturity, or perhaps a measure of estrogen-induced derangement.  Yet, here was a grandmother of twelve sharing with me her own inner turmoil – quite similar to my own.

JoIMG_20160416_163415yce and I had both looked forward to – prayerfully and eagerly – to our children marrying, having kids of their own, “doing life” with spouses who would fit them like “hand in glove”.  When the genesis for that scenario actually took place, I had an “out-of-body experience”.

“Who is that woman crying about her son being wed to someone simply wonderful?”

Yeah.  He is definitely her husband, and I’m truly thrilled about it …. but he’s my baby!


Does this resonate with you?  Or not?  Go on – share with us.

What’s In a Name?

Okay, so here’s an idea that popped into my head while on my way to the airport to fly to Chicago. We would be spending the weekend with our older son and ….

That’s where we get to fill in the blank.

Am I thinking “our son and his wife”? or “Our son and our DIL”? or “Our son and Natalie”?

Do you find it all surprising that these three titles, names, labels all connect with their own flavors, connotations, and each evokes its own particular emotion, attitude and mindset? I considered this realization to be an “Aha! moment – an epiphany.

Does it bring up a feeling of possessiveness when I think of Natalie as my DIL? Is she somehow “mine”? Is there ownership or overseeing to be done if she is? Think about this: my husband, my friends, my parents. What is mine I have a say over. What is mine I influence; I sometimes control; I have a special interest in and, perhaps, investment in. So, I might be more inclined to interact with “my” or “mine“. I am definitely connected with “my“.  Somehow, it might feel quite natural to take more liberties with my ____________. What do you make of that?

Now, let’s try this: Let’s say “my son and his wife”. That feels different. That seems to acknowledge that Natalie is primarily related to Kristof; that my relationship with Natalie is because of him; that they are a couple and because she is in relationship with him, she is in relationship to me. So, there feels a bit of space, perhaps personal distance between her and me.  After all, she is not mine.  She is his.

Then again, I might simply refer to her by her name – Natalie. “I’m going to call Natalie.” “I wonder what Natalie would enjoy for a birthday present.” “Natalie is a fine cook!” More space around Natalie here, isn’t there. It might seem like she stands more as her own person with her own unique history, personality, gifts, preferences, style, … unencumbered by role expectations, obligations or even forced feelings of familiarity.

“My DIL” I might assume I know. “Kristof’s wife” I don’t know as well as he does. “Natalie” I’m getting to know and I’d like to know better.

Does it feel the same for a DIL who considers these options toward her MIL?  My MIL?  His mother?   Ginny Liz?

What’s in a name? Perhaps more than any of us has recently considered!

What’s your take on this?