“Mommy” he called from the top of the stairs, in his little four-year-old voice. I’d sent him to brush his teeth, promising to come in a minute to tuck him in.
“Yes, Collin?” I asked, looking up at his tired face, wearing his favorite, but tattered, superhero pajamas.
“When I grow up, I’m going to marry you,” he declared with a big smile.
I laughed, then said, “Oh, bud, that’s so sweet! But I’m already taken. I’m Daddy’s honey bunny. When you’re old enough, you’ll find your own honey bunny, I’m sure!”
Contented with this answer, he turned toward the bathroom.
On Friday, March 5, 2021, Collin made it official. My oldest son got down on bended knee and asked the one whom he can’t live without if she would marry him, while slipping the ring on her finger.
Circled around a dinner table just afterward, with both sets of families and friends, my mind wandered back to that night so long ago. My heart swelled to bursting.
Mothering with Surrender
This has been my mission. On a terrible day early in my pregnancy with him, we were told that a second miscarriage was inevitable. I insisted on a blood test to verify my hormone levels, then wept with my husband all day waiting for results. I called my sister for her wisdom and compassion.
She shared in my sorrow, and gave firm but loving advice, reminding me that children are loaned to their parents as a gift to cherish and surrender over and again, as an act of faith.
She told me to mother with open hands, not gripping too tightly. Instead, a million times a day, surrender them with a trust for a bigger purpose. Those words resonated, and I found a peace to nap until the doctor called with news. Somehow, my low pregnancy hormones had tripled in two days, and I was out of the danger zone, with no medical explanation.
Imagining His Future
With the foundation of surrender, I began to build the framework of mothering with my kids’ futures in mind. I reminded myself I was raising future adults. I prayed often and specifically along the way, considering how they would build their own families. As I envisioned the nameless and faceless woman who might become his wife, I wanted to tangibly mark these dreams. When my second son was born, I bought charm bracelets for my future daughters-in-law. I selected a baby charm and a prayer box charm, thinking of how someday I would offer these small tokens as gifts, along with top spot in my sons’ affections.
Last November, after going with Collin to choose the diamond and design the ring, I came home and ordered charms relevant to his journey with his bride-to-be. I had them added to the bracelet, and when the newly engaged couple entered the room, a silver box with a bow, accompanied by a letter, sat at Elizabeth’s place setting. I explained to her that she was a dream and a prayer long before we ever knew her name. I also wanted her to know I had always attempted to make room for her in our family. She and I have shared a good giggle over the irony of the gift, as she is not a jewelry girl and she doesn’t wear silver. After all, her new ring is gold.
Don’t Make Him Choose
My husband’s mother welcomed me with open arms and filled voids in my life from the time we began dating. I’ve been determined to do the same. Issuing ultimatums, subtly or not, for my children to choose one person over another is never a winning battle. I’ve preached to myself over the years that I am raising someone else’s spouse. If someone is important to my children, that person will be important to me.
When that tiny tug on my heart appears, I remind myself of the truth: I will always be his mom. My job description has always been to raise adults who can pursue their own dreams and purposes. I want to be a mom who can take a step back, welcome their spouses, and find joy in new roles.
Let me be honest about Collin’s chosen “honey bunny.” Elizabeth makes it easy. She was a prayer breathed into the foggy future. Here she is now, and she is above and beyond anything I could have imagined, not only for my son, but also for every one of us. We are all gaining a great treasure in our new family member. I go to sleep each night with a smile on my face with the awe and wonder of it all.