For some reason, God put the mama (and Dad) in charge of filling these boys with humbleness, loyalty, honesty, courage, a hard-work ethic, resourcefulness and caring-ness – and independence without sassing, breaking the rules, or not telling us where they are going. Like any big job, there are stages – and as a mom, each of these stages has particular job requirements, benefits, and challenges.
The newest stages to each of us individually usually require an adjustment period. It has been the same with the last stage with my oldest son who recently married. However, an insightful post from the blogahood has helped me with that adjustment. Let me start from the beginning, so you can get a feel for the last great challenge in the relationships with our sons. As Mamas of these boys to men, our relationships go through various stages, but one things stays the same – prayer.
Survival Mom – Face it, for the first 3.5 years of their life, our sons cannot survive without us. We feed them, change them, potty train, teach them how to walk, to talk – all the basic fundamentals. Our reward? Great big slurpy kisses, hugs, and unconditional adoration. Survival mommy rules the world and prays that God show her how to rule his little world. Prayers for healing, strength, insight, patience, solutions, and, oh, that God places a hedge of protection around his future and that this future wife have a heart for us – all while our future DILs are still in diapers!
Rock Star Mom – ages 3.5 to 7 – They love us, adore us, and want to marry us. Life without mom? Unimaginable. We create art projects, find books to inspire, set play dates to develop friendships, and teach them to swim, swing a bat, throw a football, play an instrument, sing songs, and to love Jesus. Full-time, instructor-mommies training our little guys for the next step of independence though they so desperately do not want to leave us. Separated from mom? Appalling! Huge Tears! Wailing! They want their mama! And their mama prays for guidance, for their life, for their struggles, for healing, for solutions, that they succeed in school, make good friends, embrace honesty, for good character (in each of us), and, yep, for their future wife.
Fading Star Mom – 7 to 12 – That mom-son love is still there, but it comes and goes, like watching a star on cloudy night. The pull to independence starts, realization that mom is not perfect – and maybe a little uncool – leads to testing, questioning, and developing their own tastes, likes, and dislikes. They go into school without looking back, or trying not to look back. However, they still love mom-son time. They love it when you make hot chocolate on a snowy sledding day! They’ll still snuggle, cuddle up while you read a roaring good book, and tell you absolutely everything that happened at school. However, they really love hanging out with Dad now. It’s an equal-love world developing in the house. They want to pick their own books to read, which movies to see, and don’t wake you up in the middle of the night to climb in bed with you. And we pray – for Godly friends who help lift them up when they fall down, for wisedom, discernment in how to handle the bully in the bathroom, honest, self-discipline for spelling words, insight, favor with God, solutions for challenges, and, yes, for their wife.
Underground Foundation Mom – 13 to 19 – Stealth support – that is how I define it. The quest for independence steps up, but tricycle-style independence becomes the mainstay. We finance it, we attend it, we transport it, support it – Sports, music, extra-curricular activities – here they come. My husband and I have sold pork butts, stood with athletic teams outside Wal-Mart to raise money for the entire team, pancake breakfasts, sat through music practices, lessons, and recitals. We let them drive our cars (I need therapy after this), learn how to cook, choose friends, develop a social calendar, when and how to say, “NO,” all the while reminding them to find God throughout the day.
We drove them home from soccer games where they seethed anger at their performance (whether they won or lost). We helped them pick their tux out for prom. We helped cook beautiful dinners for two proms where we along with other parents served the attendees and then sat down to eat after they left. I stayed up all night on Project Graduation working so my son had a great night, a safe night. We reigned in poor choices, encouraged good choices – and prayed – for safety, wisdom, laborers to come across their paths to bring them closer to God, insight into God’s calling on their lives – and for their future wives.
Occasional Mom – 19 to 22 – At least, that is how it seems on the outside with the Independence-with-Training wheels stage. Off to college, off to find their future and take it. Success or failure, it is all up to them, but at least they have a soft place to fall – home – and a mom and dad who are there to lift up, encourage, and pray – for good choices, insight into their future, a good work ethic, Godly friends who help lift them up when they fall – and, yes, their future wives.
Confused Mom – Post-College – All independent, out in the world (but hopefully not of the world), seeking and finding their wife, building a life of their own, as it should be. The book, I’ll love you forever, “I’ll love you for always, as long as I’m living, you’re mommy I’ll be” – is so true – however, I do not think my daughter-in-law would appreciate me climbing in through her window every night, rocking my son,and singing that line to him. I think it would freak her out. It is a book that has so much potential, but really misses it there in an “Everybody-Loves-Raymond-kind-of-way.” There’s more to this mothering-job than climbing in his window at night when your son is all grown up.
There are times I felt like Galadriel from The Lord of the Rings when she says, “I have passed the test. I will diminish, and go into the West, and remain Galadriel.”
So what was my Role? What was my mommy-job in this phase? Mommy-ness doesn’t just stop because they get married.
Then, last week, I read Lidj’s post “Alabaster Jar,” from Crown of Glory where she wrote:
“As a mother, I am called to be the “family remembrancer,”
the one who remembers,
the one who points out the signposts.
I am also the gatekeeper,
the watchman who stands guard,
the priest who intercedes,
and who holds the cup of God’s healing oil.
May I be found faithful”(Crown of Beauty, 35-37))
I am no longer Confused Mom. My role is two-fold. Foremost, it is about prayer. It was all along – Intercessory prayer, vigilant prayer, healing prayer. Secondly, my role is to witness – to remember, to tell the stories of how God moved in our family, protected us, healed us, gave us life, sustenance, of God’s faithfulness to His promises – and still does! As Lidj prayed, “May I be found faithful.” My role for the son who has grown up and moved out? Prayer Mom who tells stories – I can do that! I will so have this stage down by the time by youngest one gets married! Thanks Lidj!