Nothing has really changed. He looks the same and acts the same. He hasn’t changed his beliefs, his habits or his outlook on the world. According to him, it soon will end in disaster.
My son is pretty much the same as he’s been since he’s been an adult. But for me, everything has changed. He is married now. I am so happy for him.
For my husband and me, the wedding day was the culmination of everything we have tried to teach him since the day he was born.
The day I envisioned, after hundreds of diaper changes and thousands of nose wipings, finally arrived. I knew there was a reason I insisted on making him eat vegetables and clean his room.
In the midst of his childhood antics, I knew it would be worth our efforts to make him behave, to instill a sense of right and wrong in him and to help him understand what honor and integrity meant.
I simply didn’t know why.
Why was I putting myself through that? Wouldn’t it simply have been easier to let him do whatever he wanted to do and hope that his many experiments and escapades didn’t include the half-gallon of ice cream I always kept for the really rough days? Why didn’t I just leave him to his own vices and not hound him with my rules? Wouldn’t that have been easier?
I never could answer the question he always asked when I told him to clean his room.
“Why? It’s only going to get dirty again.”
I didn’t know the answer then. I probably answered with something lame like, “Because I said so!”
Now, finally, I know why.
It was to mold the boy into a man worthy of the wonderful woman he has finally married.
Lord knows, she still will need a lot of patience. Though I fought throughout my son’s teen years to limit his video gaming, he still will play from time to time. The difference I hope I made is that he will know enough not to say, “Just wait ’til I kill this guy!” when his wife goes into labor. Or, when someone asks him to stand up at their wedding, he won’t have better things to do. His priorities are straight. That’s what I was fighting for.
He might still wonder why he should keep things neat and clean, but at least he will tidy up just because she asks him to. He won’t need a reason other than the same one I gave him.
After years of having to clear out moldy food from under his bed, he now understands why he shouldn’t throw peach pits behind the couch.
Of course, I wish he had worked the kinks out of this sense of cleanliness and good priorities while he lived with us, but I realize now I wasn’t teaching him those things for my benefit. I was teaching him for his future wife’s benefit.
When I danced with my son at his wedding he said, “Thanks, Mom, for everything.”
To the son: I am so proud of my wonderful new daughter-in-law. You’re welcome. It definitely was worth it.