A look and a glance

My number two son’s soccer game was nearing its end. The players for the next game were warming up on the sidelines, big boys, young men really, probably seventeen or eighteen years old. As I cheered after my son’s header goal (a goal scored by hitting the ball into the net with your head), a group of spectators for the next game crowded in around me: what appeared to be a mom, a dad, a young girl (16 or 17 herself) and a grandpa trailing behind.

Though the stands were hardly full, they must have liked the looks of my vantage point because we were all wedged in pretty tight once they took their seats. Evidently they could not read my body language that clearly stated “Get out of my way–my boy is playing out there and I cannot see THROUGH you!” not to mention “Hello? I like my SPACE!”

Anyway, because of our close proximity, I was able to observe and listen, and through the course of their conversation, I discovered this little family was indeed a mom and a dad and a grandpa of one of the players soon to take the field.

Their son/grandson walked by at one point, his mom saying something to him, maybe asking him a question. (Wonder if she’s like me and asks before every. single. game. “Got your shin guards? Cleats? Water bottle?”) Though he glanced at his mom as he answered, he looked at the girl and only the girl.

She was the girlfriend.

This I could tell not just from the looking by the young boy, but by the obvious effort the mom was making at conversation. As I heard her ask the girl about what classes she was taking and attempt to make small talk about the last soccer match, I detected some small strain in her voice, some small degree of pretended pleasantry that didn’t quite ring true. Oh, don’t get me wrong, she was nice, extremely so. I just got the impression she was trying too hard, her heart not really in it.

I thought: I’ve seen my future.

Yep, one day, sooner or later, though no doubt it will come much sooner rather than later, I will be the mom making small talk with the girlfriend. She will be a nice girl, she’d better be, but still I will feel as if I must try too hard and be too pleasant because part of me will wish for the look and not the glance.

He loved me first and best, I will want to say. She of course will not believe me and neither will he. I didn’t either, not until I became a mom and literally became the center of his world. Though it was only a few months until he preferred his daddy and then several years (still counting..) until he preferred the girl.

I’m not saying I want to tie my children to my apron strings; not at all. I’ve seen mothers who smother and I do not wish that for myself nor my boys. I once had an older and wiser friend remind me that we raise our kids to let them go, and so I do. I just didn’t know it would happen so darn fast and that the letting go would be so bittersweet.

When it is my turn to sit in the bleachers making small talk with some young thing and my boy walks by with a look for her and a glance for me, may I be kind and gracious, thankful for the opportunity to love him and raise him even as I let him go, trusting the One who gave him to me in the first place.


Author: Lisa Spence

Wife, mother, Bible teacher, bibliophile, occasional blogger

16 thoughts on “A look and a glance”

  1. That’s an insightful post. I think my mother-in-law felt the same. And I know I’ll have a hard time giving my son away when the time comes. He’s only TWO and I know this! Thanks for posting this.

  2. This made me cry a little. One of the things about having my kids in sets is I see how my little ones worship me. I am the sun they wait for each day. And how gradually my older kids have moved away from that until now, with my oldest, sometimes I am nothing more than a shadow in the way. It makes me want to hang on to these moments of the little ones “loving me best” more than I should. But the time comes so quickly when I am displaced.It is also my constant prayer that someday the thing that replaces me for all of them will be the true sun. God’s son. The only one will never let them down.

  3. Wow. I didn’t need this post this morning. I do need this perspective. And an application questionnaire for the young things to come. :)Thanks for setting the mark high and focused on the Lord as you walk before me with your boys. I do appreciate you.

  4. Oh, Lisa, I don’t know if I’m just super melancholy this morning but I’m sitting here with tears streaming down my face….and my oldest is only nine. I agree with you that I don’t want to be the smothering mother, but there is a pain in my heart when I think about having to let them go. And let them go and grow I will, but not without that painful wrench in my heart that I hope I will be able to hide from them. I pray that I will follow my mother-in-law’s example once my boys reach that place. She has been a true friend to me, and still is. I hope, hope, hope I will be as gracious when it is my turn.

  5. Wow…I don’t even want to think about it! I just got him off to kindergarten, yet I know how time flies and all too soon I’ll be in his way. (Snif, snif…)

  6. Well, my son has a young lady friend, and it has been the better part of a year of trying to get this girl to stop being abjectly afraid of me. The girl wants the mother to like her; I remember that feeling very well. Sometimes, it is a tension on both sides.

  7. Well, I can say that I AM there and have been for a year now. My second son had his heart captured by a pretty little thing a year ago. It has been an interesting journey. I CAN say that I don’t feel any jealousy. I also can say that I have grown to love this sweet little Christian girl. She loves my son. I can see that, and it makes her dear to my heart because of it. I will say that because his heart has been given to another our relationship has been more strained. Maybe it is just 17. I don’t know. But it is a normal progression and I know I would hate for my sons never ot have a wife. Still you fret at times. It takes a different mind set and changes your relationship…hugs to you. You will be ready when it happens. And it will be here after you blink! LOL!

  8. I don’t even want to think about that day for my boy OR my girl! We just have to remember: God gives the grace we need when we need it, not before. . . .I remember someone (maybe Missy at It’s Almost Naptime?) posting about one night in the wee hours snuggling with her one-year-old boy and thinking “This is how difficult mothers-in-law are created.”

  9. Aww… neat to hear the viewpoint of a mom of a son. I will be that mom of a daughter, praying for a Godly young man with an excellent Godly mother.

  10. Oh, I am SO not ready for that day. I know it’s coming, though I should still have a good number of years. But I doubt I’ll be ready in another year or two or five or eight. I’ll just have to try to face it gracefully when the time comes.

  11. This is beautiful.I think the same thing when I see these 16 and 17 year old boys. They really are young men, and my time with a rambunctious little boy will be gone before I know it as he grows taller and hairier than me.

  12. I came over here from Lysa TerKeurst’s blog, and wanted you to know that I loved this post. As a mother of three girls, it’s interesting to get the boys’ mom’s perspective. šŸ™‚

Join the conversation! I may not always reply directly but I do read and appreciate every comment.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s