When you’ve battled infertility every child is both planned and a surprise. But after five children we thought we were done. Until the next surprise. We named him Jake.
Last weekend I witnessed him propose to his love. Being a photography hobbyist gets me invited to document fun things. When Jake asked me to hide in the woods while he asked Sarah to marry him I was thrilled. The last of my four sons becoming engaged has been bittersweet. Any woman with a son knows what I mean by that. It’s sweet because I’ve watched him fall in love and cherish the sparkle in his eyes when she’s around. Yet bitter because I’m the one being (mostly happily) replaced. (Just like Benny felt when our daughters married….) I knew I was raising him for another woman who would be his helper, confidant and closest friend. I prayed for her for years and I love the woman he chose. One minute my heart is full of joy but the next I’m fighting tears; like yesterday when he sat down to spontaneously play the piano and I knew it’s only a matter of months before that won’t happen much anymore.
Last Saturday I had my pre-engagement conversation with him. It was similar to the one I had with his three older brothers before they proposed. Each time this conversation has happened I’ve felt like I was having an out of body experience. Who is that woman sitting face to face with her adult son? Wasn’t it just a few years back that she announced pregnancy number six to a yet again surprised daddy? How did he get so tall so quickly? When did he get big enough to grow facial hair and fall in love? And wasn’t it just a short time ago that she was driving all over central Florida to watch him play basketball and cooking pounds of pasta for his hungry friends?
As I sat there on Saturday looking at him I realized yet again I much I love my boy and how handsome I think he is. (No partiality, of course.) I love his glass-half-full way of viewing people and life; his warm greetings; his sensitivity when I’m sad; and his weird Phillips humor that understandably confuses many but makes me laugh till I cry. Coming into the house singing — and leaving whatever shoes he was wearing in the middle of the living room. Accompanying himself on the piano while singing perfectly chosen worship songs just when I’ve needed them. Rehearsing family memories with his siblings. Singing Disney songs while cleaning up the kitchen after dinner. Walking out of the house to meet his girlfriend and her family for dinner with crazy hair and wearing Redskins slippers. These are some of the many things I will miss about him sharing life with a Mrs.
Yesterday we were at his oldest niece’s softball game. Sarah walked up and sat beside him and he grabbed her hand. “Wow,” he said. “I didn’t realize how sparkly this ring is.” If he reads this post he’ll probably roll his eyes when he reads that her dazzling diamond can’t compare to the sparkle he’s brought into my life. We joked that part of the reason why we’ve gotten along so well, especially through his teen years, is because we’re a lot alike in many ways. I thought “likes” were supposed to repel — but not Jake and me. Yes, we’ve had our moments and one thing I won’t miss is his consistently messy room, but amidst of all the motherly sentiment I am truly happy for him.
Proverbs 18:22 says, “He who finds a wife finds a treasure and receives favor from the Lord.” What mother can’t be overjoyed when her son finds the priceless treasure of a godly wife? My son is the recipient of God’s favor and blessing…and her name is Sarah Caroline.
I love you, Son. And thanks for letting me hide in the woods to capture these moments.
P.S. Like I told you on Saturday, I pray that someday your wife has a son just like you. I really mean that.