Our little birds will fly
Joy overflowed on the eve of New Year’s Eve, Dec. 30, as my son and new daughter-in-law were married at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Brownsville.
The bride’s talented mother did a beautiful job overseeing all the details for their themed wedding – “Let love grow.” The Wedding Mass and reception provided the perfect occasion to celebrate their new beginning as husband and wife and as leaders of their “domestic church.” It also provided a perfect backdrop to gather family and friends.
As mother of the groom, I held fewer responsibilities. I did not have to worry about all the details. While I usually tend to juggle multiple projects with a checklist in hand, always feeling pressured for time, on this occasion I welcomed the grace of time to pray before Mass, to be present for family, to take in each moment.
The flurry of emotions such a milestone moment brings caught me off guard. Lydia Pesina with the Family Life Office reminds us often that every stage of family life comes with rewards and losses. Rewards are obvious as we celebrate the sacrament of marriage. Yes. I know: “I am not losing a son; I am gaining a daughter.” This certainly brings our family great joy.
However, we do not often speak about the losses. These losses are part of the transitions that take place as children leave the nest and start their own families. Naturally, we want this for our children. We want them to become independent responsible adults. Over the years, we have walked through various stages – learning how to drive, leaving for college, living on their own, becoming financially independent, and now marriage.
At each stage, our roles as parents change, as do our relationships. They no longer depend on us in the same way as when they were children. Holidays will take on a different feel as they divide their time between families and start their own traditions. And I am now a mother-in-law and no longer the main woman in my son’s life. I can accept these roles. We learn to let go. Learn to trust more and more in God to guide them. However, we continue to worry about their health, their safety, their wellbeing.
I confess, though, that hearing my son refer to his mother-in-law and me as his “two moms” stung a bit. That is a role I am not quite ready to share. Although I am grateful that his new in-laws love my son, it will still take some time for me to adjust. I can accept that I am no longer the main woman in my son’s life, but the role of a mother is different.
I remember the words the deacon at St. Anthony Parish in Harlingen shared 27 years ago as he led the baptismal classes. He reminded us parents and godparents that our children are on loan to us from God. Hence, as I let go and celebrate new beginnings, I recall the words of St. James who tells us to “consider it all joy.” Jas 1:2
I also focus my eyes on our Blessed Mother Mary, who is an example for all mothers. I invite you to share your stories and consejos about some of your transitions and letting-go moments as your children set out to live their own lives. As we share, we learn together.
For now, I treasure each second my son and I shared during the mother-son dance. My son chose the song titled “The First Lady in My Life,” by Paul Todd. We laughed; we cried; we shared a private moment even as everyone watched.
I am grateful for my role as a mother. I know too, my role as a prayer warrior will grow, and no matter how old my adult children are, I will continue to give them a blessing before they depart my home or my presence.
(Originally published in February 2018 edition of The Valley Catholic newspaper)