by Tammy Hise
This month our worship series has been Ready or Not. We all know that no matter what, change happens. It is the only constant. As we’ve talked about life changes, it made me think of how I felt when Taylor got married recently. I remember, my hands shook as I hugged my son before his wedding and asked him if he was ready.
A year earlier Taylor proposed to Andrea, his sweetheart of 7 years. I’m sure she thought, “Are you ever going to be ready to propose?” Together they'd planned and prayed about their wedding day. I cherish my relationship with Andrea, and I felt blessed that I was able to do a lot of Mother of the Bride type of duties since her mother did not live close. I helped with many decisions and was there for her throughout the planning.
That day as friends and family gathered, and the ceremony was about to begin. I stepped back and surveyed my boy, the groom. He looked happy and confident. "He's ready," I thought, "but am I?" Am I ready for our relationship to change forever? Am I prepared to assume a role of lesser importance in my son's life?
An assortment of images flashed through my mind: My newborn boy letting out a healthy cry. The preschooler grinning at me. The middle schooler sticking up for others. The teenager driving alone for the first time. I'd baked his birthday cakes and bandaged his scraped knees. I'd read his bedtime stories, cheered at his soccer and football games, and boasted about his achievements. I'd driven him to guitar lessons, paid for his braces, and missed him when he left home after graduation. I visited him often in college and was pseudo mom to all his friends through high school and college. They still call me Mama Hise. I'd played the role of leading lady on his life's stage throughout his growing up years, but that was about to end.
On his wedding day, my 29-year-old son took his place at the marriage altar. I saw tears in his eyes as he watched his beautiful bride walk toward him and take her from her father's arm. He held her hands, promised to cherish her forever, slipped a ring onto her finger, and sealed his vow with a kiss. His heart would be knit to hers, and rightfully so. Just like Genesis 2:24 says, Leave and cleave - that was God's plan, and I didn't want it any other way. Still, the question remained: Am I ready for this change?
Ready or not, our relationship and my role have changed. I'll always be his mother, but I'm no longer the main woman with whom he shares his inner thoughts. I'm not the one who cares for him when he's sick. I'm not the one who waits for him at day's end. Taylor has established his own family unit, and I'm now a member of the supporting cast. It's my job to encourage him and his wife, to respect them, and to give them the freedom to make their own way. Perfecting my role will take a lifetime, but I'm learning as I go.
I know some things I will need to do. Hold family traditions loosely and let them write their own script. Know when to speak up and when to shut up. Treat my daughter in law as the new leading lady in my son’s life. Never compete with her for his time and attention. Never criticize her to him or anyone else. Never tell her how to run her household or raise her children unless she asks for advice. If my relationship with her is positive, then my relationship with my son will also benefit. The list goes on, based on a common denominator - love.
On my son's wedding day, I recall hearing a voice whisper from within: Ready or not, the time for change has come. Love Taylor enough to let him go. Love this woman who has captured his affection. Cherish her as a daughter, embrace her as a friend, and all will be well. As we were dancing together at his reception, I asked him if he was ready for married life and all that would come. I told him that marriage is so much more than the wedding and you must work at it every day. Marriage is about friendship before it is about anything else. Respect one another, listen to one another and love one another dearly. I told him that Forgiveness is an essential ingredient for a healthy marriage. Colossians 3:13-14 “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”
Taylor said he was ready and in so many words said that everything I had taught him about being a good person would help him be a good husband and father. He was ready for the next stage. I hugged him so hard. We talked about so many things during that dance, and I beamed as he looked so happy. Love and faith helps us through anything, and those same two things helped me raise a wonderful son, that I know will be a great husband. I am lucky to be so close to Taylor, heck he calls me every night on his way home from work and we talk about nothing and everything. But I know, ready or not, change has come.