Entering a New Season...The Family Is Expanding

Something huge is happening in our home.  The family table now has a chair designated for a new member.  The cute “6” tile decorating the shelf no longer applies; we’ll need to find a “7.”  And I’m on the hunt for the perfect new Christmas stocking to add to the mantle collection this year.  Our family is expanding, and for the first time, it’s not by a child born from my body.  Our son is engaged.

I won’t tell you how long I’ve sat and stared at that last sentence.  What a huge word.  Engaged. 

Definition of engaged. 1 : involved in activity : occupied, busy. 2 : pledged to be married : betrothed. 3 : greatly interested : committed. 

My son is involved, occupied, busy with, pledged to, betrothed, greatly interested in, and committed to a young woman.  And that means his heart, his thoughts, his plans, and his dreams are all transitioning to center around a new family. 

He will always love our home, but he will have a new home.

He will always care for our family, but he will be responsible for his own family.

He will always have a place at our table, but he will build his own table and fill it with his own people.

Such big, beautiful, scary, comforting, and wild thoughts to contemplate.

The letting go process of parenting seems like it has no end.  Just when you think you’ve done it, it’s time to let some more go.  But, I’m discovering that in the letting go, there is also a gathering to.  So, as I’ve turned the page to 2019 and realized all the change this year will bring, I have made a decision to open wide my arms and to gather the new close to my heart. 

At the very top of that list is the young woman who is passionate about Jesus and my son.  Before I knew her, I prayed for her.  And before she knew him, I worked to get him ready.

It’s made me smile to know the letter I wrote to her years ago can now have a name attached to the top.

Dear Faith…

Author’s Note:  The following is taken from Treasure The Ordinary’s post, “10 Things I Want My Daughter-In-Law To Know About My Son” from October 23, 2012.

Dear Beautiful One,

I don't know you yet, but I look forward to meeting you.  I have been working hard for years to prepare for your entrance into our family.  You have been in my prayers for going on two decades now, and always will be.

I've told my son so many times that choosing you would be the single most important decision of his life, apart from choosing to follow Jesus.  He giggled when he was little when I would talk about these things, but he's begun to be aware enough of the passage of time that he nods his head now, listening.

There are so many things I wish you could see, right here, in this time and place.  I wish you could see them because I've longed to see the same things in my own husband's life.  I’ve wished to see him as an infant, looking so much like his big brother.  To see him as a child, running free.  To see him as a teenager, figuring out this whole thing called life.

But, you can't see them.  You'll have to trust me.

He's the most amazing young man you'd ever be privileged to know.  He's incredible.

Not to say he doesn't have some quirks we're working on (who doesn't?), but even those are adorable, at least to this mama.

And there are some things being this boy's mom has taught me that I want to share, things that would have been helpful to know about a man when I said, "I do," but somehow didn't come clear until I was responsible for nurturing a boy.  I hope you can receive them from my heart to yours, with love and tender hope that you and this child of mine can make your home a place of peace and a jungle of joy.

1.  You won't ever completely figure out how a man thinks.  You were created differently.  Just embrace that.

2.  The longer you're with him, the more grateful you'll be that he thinks differently than you.  It's the balance that makes marriage work.

3.  Guys are messy.  They don't mean it to be extra work for you, they just don't see the mess the way you do.  When you need his help to clean up, ask him.  He knows how, I've seen to that---so just smile and ask for the help.  And when he helps, thank him sincerely.  No, he might not always notice what you do to thank you for it in return, but he does appreciate you.

4.  He also may not notice every time you do something new or different to your hair.  If he doesn't, stand in front of him and cough several times.  I've trained him to pay attention when he hears coughing.  

5.  He won't parent the way you do.  It's important for you to have the same basic plan, but allow him to be the dad.  Kids need both.

6.  He thrives on affirmation.  Respect who he is and tell him often why you respect him.  You'll be happier married to a man who is secure in your respect than one you've torn down with criticism.

7.  Don't expect him to know how to handle your tears.  He'll probably always feel a little awkward about them.  Don't worry about it.  He'll get over it.

8.  When he buys you something, don't take it back, even if it's not your favorite.  A gift is like a love note; you don't hand them back, you treasure them.

9.  Men need spontaneity and fun in their lives, in every area.  Make sure you don't take yourself too seriously--joy can be found in the tiny spaces of life if you'll let it.

10.  You are his greatest treasure, a costly jewel above all price.  He adores you.  Live your life assuming that everything he does is with the intention of blessing you.

With all my love and yet another prayer,

Your Future Mother-In-Law