mothering & motherhood: the gift of a son

you may have noticed that in my last mothering & motherhood post i ended with “my sincerest hope is that liberty will also be able to enjoy the unique benefits of “other mothers”…. i did NOT end with my sincerest hope is that liberty AND STERLING will also be able to enjoy the unique benefits of “other mothers”….

let me explain why that is.

several years ago someone shared some great wisdom with me. they were talking about how hard it was to give up their son… to his wife. i had never considered that a son leaving home would be harder than a daughter. but their logic makes perfect sense. which i will come back to momentarily.

i probably first began to experientially understand what this sweet lady was saying when we got that special surprise phone call that turned what we thought our future would look like upside down. in essence, when we applied to adopt from china we assumed that we would adopt a girl… but alas, we were told that our much hoped-for, much prayed-for child was in fact a boy.

immediately i shared this news with anyone that was standing still longer than 30 seconds. on one of those occasions of pure elation a lady named Gay replied with sweet words of encouragement that essentially said:

“you’ll love having a son! there’s a sweet bond unlike any other between a mother and son.”

then she went on to explain a very interesting concept. apparently the child of the opposite gender of the parent tends to hold a special place in that parent’s heart. this could be derived from the fact that the parent isn’t so busy comparing their child to themselves, but growing along side of and learning the wonder of that particular child’s differences that allows them to more fully enjoy that child. that would explain common phrases like, “daddy’s girl” and “momma’s boy.”

i have since done my own unofficial survey of this theory and people with several children tend to agree that there really is something extraordinarily special about their love for and attachment with the child that is not their same gender.

this theory was then put to the test when we met sterling.

in my experience there certainly is something magical between a mommy and a son. something so powerful, so incredible, so beautiful that it cannot be put into words.

so, as i contemplated this phenomenon i couldn’t help but think that it must have been hard for jarod’s mom… or any mother, for that matter, to hand her son over in marriage.

for you see, when a daughter marries, the mother doesn’t necessarily experience a break in the relationship. daughters, typically, still stay connected to their mothers. they’re more apt to call their mothers. and call on their mothers for all kinds of things – recipes, family traditions, help with the children, etc.

however, when a son marries it is not only expected, but right that he leave his mother. and for a mother who invested her whole heart into a child this can feel devastating.

in addition, a first born son separating from mom can feel even more painful. because a first born has the unique advantage of being mommy’s center of attention… at least for a time, it makes sense that this special time creates lots of special memories. so, for a mother, a first born, a son no less, leaving home can feel especially painful.

i didn’t always understand this. but i do now. as i spend time with sterling i am all too aware that my place in his heart is a limited reign. more than likely, one day another lady, his wife, will become the love of his life.

recently i heard a really good saying, “a father’s job is to bless. a mother’s job is to release.”

oh how painful those words were to hear… but i know that i must surrender my own desires to keep him “my baby boy” so that he can grow into a man of godly character. and to do so means i must release him… even now.

so i have begun to intentionally release sterling from the mommy hold. though i want him to always love me… and Lord willing, respect me, i know that even now i must begin relinquishing him.

one of the ways i’ve come to realize i can do this is is to simply let him be a boy. to let him play with sticks (though i fear his eyes being poked out), to let him climb (though i fear him falling), to let him jump (though i know there’s a high possibility that either he or something will be hurt). in essence i let him do things that cause me to cringe, though i don’t let him see me do so, all so that he can be the boy, and eventually the man, that God intends for him to be. i also give him free access to my loving arms. i love that sterling loves physical affection. so i lavish it on him… because one day he’s not going to want my comforting arms anymore. so i give hugs often and freely… because i want him to be a man who knows how to show affection to the people in his life. and i prepare my own heart by thoroughly enjoying this time with him… because i believe (& hope) that by loving him well and completely i’ll be more willing and able to appreciate him as a young man and his eventual departure from our nest.

even with all this talk of loving him well enough to let him go… i cling to the fact that there is a very special bond between a mother and her son.

and i confess to you that i am excited about the day that sterling marries… for whether he wants to or not, there will be 😉 a dance floor at his wedding because his mommy looks forward to dancing one last time with her “baby boy”.


that’s enough talking for now… gotta go… i’m all choked up and the tears are coming on quickly.


2 thoughts on “mothering & motherhood: the gift of a son

  1. Pingback: mothering & motherhood: the gift of a daughter | jdavis2

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