To the wife of my son (s)
I do not know you yet, you are somewhere right this minute tucked up in bed in the home of your parents. Your days are filled with school and friends and weekends of freedom and innocence. But one day in the future your paths will collide and one or both of you will decide that this is the one, the person I can share a life with or if either of you are less lucky this is the one the person I want to possess, to have. I hope for both of you that it is more mutual than that. I hope there is equality in your partnership and a sense of life as a shared journey.
When you have children, god willing, this is what you know – a daughter will be a constant, she will always be with you. A son is a visitor in your home, he is a gift for a time but one day he will meet a woman and around her his world will turn. This is natural and right.
Woman are to competitive with one another to share one man as a son and a husband. I know this, I have had more than one mother-in law. My ways will not be your ways. You will blame me for his shortcomings, the fact that he is spoilt, that he likes life to meet him on his terms, that he is stubborn or selfish, you will see these faults not as fundamental defects in character but rather as characteristics that could or should have been “raised” from him during his growing up. That in order to love someone you need to blame another for the things in that person that you do not love at all. A mother is always the person a wife blames.
A son is only have raised by his mother, the rest is done by the woman he marries, although you may bare resentments in the early years of having been delivered of something half finished, the reality is that men are molded by the woman in their lives, this takes time, effort, commitment and love, not from you but from him. Whether he loves you enough to become the man you need is what hangs in the balance.
The truth is there comes a time when a mother can no longer reach her son, he leaves, not physically but emotionally, he goes to a place where you cannot follow nor can you reach your hand out and pull him back. It is a place where he is vulnerable, a place in which he can cry, show fear see himself as week and fallible, and it will always be a place where he is desperately alone until such time as meets a woman, you, whom he trusts enough to let in, trusts enough to see him in his weakness.
This has been my experience and my observation, there are two kinds of men . The first sort wish to remain the child of his mother for all his days, he will find and marry a woman that is prepared to be subservient , this of course works until such time as she has a child of her own and feels she has a greater power base, the struggle that ensues is often ugly and terribly damaging to all three. This woman it seems has the qualities he wished his mother had had. The other kind of man, opts for a woman whom he believes will be able to stand up to his mother and “take him away” she will have qualities that are not dissimilar to those he is familiar with and needs in a partner. –These have been the findings, of my observations.
Although I have not much been one for the bible, largely because I feel woman were somewhat unrepresented 2000 years ago, There is a reading about children leaving the homes of their parents and cleaving to one another in their union. There is a lot to be said for this, there comes a time when all people need to know who they are and what they stand for in their time, if you remain to much with a generation that is not your own you do not pave the ground of the present but can become mired in the past. It is for you to take the values and beliefs from your growing up and shape a life and a future with those. The generations are supposed to differ that’s what makes for progress. As a parent you can gift your children with the ability to think and to learn but not force upon them your learning’s and your views. Their world is a different place from the one you have lived in, your torch may not be the kind of light they need to see the way into the future. I can teach you how to think but I shall not teach you what to think – this is what I try to do for my son. Together you will face a future where my thinking may not be appropriate. I wonder if you will see the value in this? Or if you will interpret my attitude as one of non involvement?
I have tried to see all my children as beings that have come through me and not from me, to see them as people and not progressions of myself. I think often of an apprentice to a trade or an artist in bygone times, the very best of teachers equip their apprentices with the tools of their trade, the allowed them a window into the inner workings of all they knew, all they did and then when the boy came of age in his craft he left his master to become his own artist or master craftsman. I try to think that parenting is like this.