I cry at weddings. Even if I barely know the bride, I will most likely use three tissues by the time she makes it to the altar. There is just something about the moment that grips my heart and renders me incapable of holding back the tears.
But the part of the day that stirs me to the core is the Mother-Son dance.
You might find me slipping out of the reception as soon as the DJ calls the groom and his mother to the dance floor. I might go stand outside or pretend that I need to use the restroom, but I simply cannot handle this part of the wedding day.
During this dance, I have heard songs about trucks and skinned knees and adventures with Mommy. I have seen mothers look at their sons with tears streaming down their face as they are full of pride with all that he has become as they twirl around the dance floor. But, I break down because my sons and I are very much in the trucks and skinned knees and adventure stage. I cannot fathom the day that I will dance with my boys and perform the mother’s act of giving her son away.
“I don’t care what anyone says – you can cut umbilical cords, but you can’t cut heart strings.”
When we found out with each child that we were having boys, my husband and I joked that we wouldn’t have to pay for any weddings. But two months after our first son was born, we attended a wedding and it hit me that I would indeed have much responsibility on his big day. To my mind, the Mother-Son dance is in many ways a culmination of raising him. I will be handing over the reins and trusting that through God I have done enough for my son to be a loving husband, leader, and provider to his bride.
After speaking with mothers who have sons much older than mine, I have found that mothers of sons experience a gradual letting go process that doesn’t usually happen between mothers and daughters. While daughters often lean on their mothers for advice during this stage of their lives, especially as they begin to have children, sons often forge their own path or turn to their father for guidance. For a mother cannot relate to her son’s new roles as husband and father in the same way that she can relate to the roles of a wife and mother. I pray and try to prepare myself for this and I know that when the time comes for me to loosen my grip that God will give me the strength to do so.
I want my sons to put their wives first.
I want them to make their marriage a top priority.
I want them to be the spiritual leader of their home.
In order for them to achieve these things, I know that I must step back. I am not worried that my sons will no longer love me or be close to me. Of course our relationship will change, as God states it should. I have many positive dreams for my relationship with my future daughters-in-law and I trust my sons will choose well.
“The man said, ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.’ That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.”
Genesis 2: 23-24
As I have these thoughts of the future, my 2-year-old and 4-year-old boys come bounding into the living room and bring me back to the present. They have heard a song on TV that they love and they pull me off of the couch as they each say, “Dance whiff me, Mommy! Dance whiff me!”
I gladly oblige and hold them close while I twirl them around, dip them, and tickle them. Dance parties are a regular happening in our house. We work up a sweat and then decide to make a snack and share it out on the deck. The boys sit right next to me as one shows me what his truck can do and the other one asks me to kiss his skinned knee. I am showered in a chorus of, “I love you, Mommy-ies,” and I know that it will always ring true. My heart is so full of love for my children that I can’t begin to describe it. One day I will have to let go, but today is not that day.
Whenever the time comes, I will wear my best dress, proudly display my corsage, and take my place on the dance floor with my son. There will be tears and memories that cloud my vision, but I am sure our Mother-Son dance will be one of the happiest moments of my life.
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