mom in law notes after a wedding

Posted: May 20, 2015 in Uncategorized

I’m baaaaack!  After a long break brought on by the sudden but not completely unexpected death of my Asus Eee machine (a $300 computer which had, in all fairness, lasted me 4 years, more than earning its keep), I have a new Chromebook in hand.  It has been HARD, not blogging all of this time.  Often, I have felt little explosions of words within me, pushing, wanting out, and I’ve been sad as they circled the drain and left me.  But I made myself busy with life while I waited to be able to buy another machine in a fiscally responsible manner.  Gotta live within my means.  ‘Tis a good gift, understanding that, even when it feels “expensive” in the waiting.  Wasn’t always the case.

My son got married this past weekend.  As you can imagine, my heart, mind and spirit are just FULL from that occasion.  While I have never been a mom who longingly pined for either of my kids to hurry up and get married (that looks like lack of wisdom, pining for possibly premature marriage and all the pain that can follow), I HAVE prayed for my kids’ future spouses since the beginning – just prayed for their well-being along the way, mostly.

I guess therein was an assumption that there would BE spouses, and not everyone gets married.  I wasn’t always 100% sure Caleb would, as he grew up.  He has always been such a wild adventurer and creative type.  Who knew how he might decide to play it?  Still, there was no harm in praying for a person who may or may not ever come along eh?  For me, at least, prayer is never a wasted thing.

The boy made me proud in so many ways, throughout the course of the weekend.  I am so pleased with who he has come out to be.  I almost said I am pleased with the adult he is, but we had a delightfully fun conversation at one point, in which he told me that getting married was a step toward him being, “more adult-ish,” and I totally heard him on that point.  He’s too busy being a living explosion of creativity to overly concern himself with much preoccupation with that whole “adult” title as it is so often defined in our culture.

A beautiful assortment of folks came out to celebrate their joy.  Their wedding officiant defined love as finding someone who is the same kind of weird as you, falling into mutual weirdness, and calling it love.  By that definition, the happy couple not only have exceedingly abundant love among the two of them, but are also surrounded by a great teeming mass of love.  Their crowd is composed of a spectacular variety of compatible weirdnesses and I couldn’t help but think how his folks would fit in so nicely in so many ways with my own weird collection of people.  I am so glad to have passed along to him the propensity to question the established order of things and to waste no time trying to be mainstream or whatever the heck normal is.  I think I already said:  I am proud of the boy.

He has chosen a beautiful girl with whom I fell in love immediately – literally 3 minutes after I first met her, I hoped she was “the one,” though I had never bothered hoping such a thing up to that point (he’s only 25; I was sure we still had awhile before he settled down, and that was okay with me…but this turns out to be the perfect timing.)  She is warm and kind with a smile that doesn’t know how to be fake.  She laughs HUGELY and isn’t afraid to rock the dork factor.  She is creative and open-minded and respectful of others, with a great, healthy dose of contempt for shoulds and dumb expectations.  She is funny and thoughtful and has the kind of singing voice that makes me want to beg her to just sing MORE, every time I hear it.  She is down to earth and relaxed and rides her bike.  Oh, I could go on and on about the wonderful qualities of Whitney, but my favorite thing about her is that she loves my son well.  She is cheerful and supportive but also has a great bullsh*t meter and is not afraid to use it.  He needs that.  HE would tell you he needs that.  She brings herSELF to the relationship, not just a big bag of need.  There are so many who don’t understand that needing is not loving.  She is not among that crowd.  She is a whole person – not one who has been desperately seeking for someone to make life work for her.  This is good.

(And, bonus:  she likes me!  I am more excited than I know how to describe, that I get a daughter in law who likes me!)

When their best man gave his speech, he described the two of them as some of the kindest and gentlest people he knows.  That was a “what more could I ask” moment, but then the maid of honor topped it for me.  Among her emotion-filled words, she said of Caleb that he would never dim Whitney’s light, but would always help her to shine brighter.

YES.  THIS is who I wanted to raise my son to be.  This is what I wanted for him.  I can remember endless conversations with him when he was a kid, with me trying to teach him to do better on some front, and joking to him, “Someday you’re going to have a wife, and I don’t want her to cry and ask me why I didn’t raise you better.”  Yes, I have sincerely been trying to be a good mother in law since he was a toddler.  No, I don’t want to live out the things that make mother in law jokes sound true to so many people!  Among the many things I’ve hoped for him, the ability to love well was high, high, high.

I heard it said several years ago that a woman who is loved well opens like a flower.  As soon as I heard it, I wanted that for myself (and then it happened, a fact that continues to blow my little mind).  This is what I want for my son – that he would love his other so well that all of her beauty and potential and freedom would come exploding onto the scene is unprecedented ways.  I already see this as I have watched their relationship develop in the past year, this mutual opening.

She will not grow frustrated and confused and then sad and dim and bitter and somehow less than she could have been as she navigates life with him.  I’ve seen that too many times for too many women – how they lose their luster and end up resigned and somehow smaller.  My son will not steal his wife’s light or squash her spirit.

We DO lose something when 2 become 1, but hopefully what we lose is selfishness and self-centeredness.  Hopefully the things that die and fall away are things that ought to have been lost.  We should be MORE in that union and not less.  I’ve experienced the more in my own life in the almost-two years since I married G, and my heart sings now about the fact that both of my children have found that special kind of freedom as well.

The image that I saw as I pondered it was that he will of course continue to be a living explosion of creativity.  It’s who he is.  But above that, he will make it his mission to acknowledge her beauty, to point out her gifts and talents, to say to her and to the world, “Look at her!  Isn’t she something?!”  I saw it as a mental image, and then it happened on the stage as she sang her heart out, and he stood behind her beaming as he strummed along.  “Isn’t she something?”

What more could I want?

  1. Cindy Maynard says:

    What a blessing!! Congratulations to Caleb and Whitney! Your description of their love is simply awesome and how wonderful for them to be living in that love.

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