The Other Woman
I knew this day would come. I’m grateful it didn’t come sooner. I’m still not ready.
My son, once carried inside my body, but now more than a head taller than me . . . who once called me mama, but now sometimes says “mom” like the word is almost too distasteful for him to utter . . . who once took any and every opportunity to be held by me, but now literally sets time limits for how long I can sit close to him.
This son just confided that he would like to ask a girl on a date. The calm expression on my face was Academy Award worthy. Inside my pulse quickened; my stomach flipped. My lips said, “Great idea. Tell me about her.” My heart screamed, “No way! She can’t have you!”
Although his dad will have an equally important part in this continuing story, because I am a girl (or used to be), I got the initial exclusive scoop. We had a precious conversation where he told me how nervous he was, asked my advice on how to approach her, and what would happen if she said no. I kept an even tone and held back my tears, terrified I’d scare him into silence.
We moms of boys suffer in ways that girl moms could not possibly understand. Girls often grow into women who share their feelings and their lives with their mothers. There will be sweet and deep conversations about their marriage, their parenting, their kitchen remodel. Boys always grow into men. There will be conversations. I hope.
Therefore, I know I was given tonight’s conversation as a beautiful gift. I will treasure it always.
This year is hitting me so much harder than I expected. Driving, employment, college tours, concrete discussions about what life will be like for him in two short years.
And now this. We are beginning the long goodbye, and my heart is beginning to break.
I know our job is to grow him into the man he will be, which includes the husband he will become. I decided to forget that “husband” implies the existence of a wife. The other woman.
Since our son was very small, we’ve prayed hard for his future spouse. That she is nurtured by parents who know and love Christ, so that she will know and love Him as well. But these were really just prayers for the idea of her. Now, I do live in the real world. I don’t think that this girl who is still only the potential recipient of my son’s invitation – that this girl will be that spouse. Suddenly, though, the real world is closing in fast. It will be someone. Not an idea. A living, breathing, mistake-making woman.
So, my prayers are different now. Yes, Lord, let her know Your truth and walk with You. But, Lord, also let her feel Your grace deep in her soul. Let her love my son and their children well – the way You love us. And, Lord, please let me forgive her when she doesn’t. Let her know that I understand living, breathing, mistake-making women. I am one.
Let her understand that this man who is her husband, her whole world – that this man was once my little boy, and once so much of my whole world, too.
And, let me release him now to the idea of her. Then some day, to the real her. Let me love this other woman well. With my whole heart. Including the part that will always stay just a little bit broken.
Written by Sonia Cleverly