Saturday, February 21, 2009

His Birthday

Dear Tyler's Momma,

It may seem a little odd. Instead of composing my usual "Top 100 Reasons I love Tyler", or other such ooey gooey love cyber notes to my husband on his birthday, I've ended up wandering around my house the past couple of days, reflecting on the love of my life's

I'm afraid of having sons. I do desperately hope to have at least one someday, so don't misunderstand. While I relish the pink bows and tea parties of girl-dom- I want to be able to equally dive into booger flinging contests and the puppy dog scent of my little boy(s)' head someday. A boy would be a treasure beyond words, but the navigation of a son's existence into the world strikes me as so much more painful on a mother than that of a daughter's. Or so I would imagine.

A little boy is instantly so innocent and sweet. Cuddly and loveable and honest. My Mom always said she loves each of her children equally and infinitely, but a mother falls in love with her little boy in the most magnificient and unique way. And they love you back. Boy oh boy, do they love you back. They hug you, and kiss you, and gaze with the purest adoration into the eyes of their Momma.

And as time goes on, their reciprocal love doesn't fade, but changes in its expression. And as a mother, I would imagine you are aware of this shift, dreading the impending presence of more distant affection. For their own good in the masculine and brutish world they must thrive and belong in, you'll even begin assisting in arming them with tools and techniques of becoming a man, and slowly and surely the hugs, kisses, cuddles, and sweet words become fewer and more naturally distant. With a sort of ironic selflessness, you would even be the first person to put a prompt halt to your sixteen year-old son running out of a highschool gymnasium yelling, "Mommy! Mommy! I won the game...I love you!!" or something so socially suicidal as that. But also, I imagine, your heartstrings would be ruthlessly tugged and wrenched as you wish you could simply comfort and hug him when he's had a hard day, or didn't make the team, or had a girlfriend break his heart. Because at the end of the day, it is you that remembers and has known the longest that boy who is inside. The boy who never goes away. And the boy you will love eternally.

I can only imagine how crazy difficult it would be to watch him begin his life with another girl. Even a good one! (Wait, was I just giving myself a pat on the back?)! If it was my son, I would be TERRIFIED.
Will she understand him? Will she be kind to him? Will she recognize how special and unique he is? Will she encourage him? Will the home life she creates welcome him? Will she respect him? Honor him? When he's had a bad day, will she nag him? Or, nuture him and suggest he kick up his feet up on the sofa and relax? Will she understand that under that tough exterior lies a complete softy that needs assistance properly sorting his laundry?

So many worries, so many unknowns...and here you have to let go of your life's greatest accomplishment - him - without even the consolation of intimidation with a rifle that a father is at least allotted when giving away a daughter! Mothers don't get to have that woodshed initiation conversation underneath the mounted animal heads. We don't get to look the girl square in the eye and warn them of the baseball bat and car trunk that await them if they so much as think about hurting your son. No, no, no. We're left with a few family keepsake recipes to possibly hand down, and even if we ask whether she's given them a try it's considered "prying" or "not cutting the apron strings" properly.

Yes, Yes. I do fear having sons.

But, if you had never been so gracious as to sacrifice yourself and your love for him, if February 22nd, 1984 hadn't produced the wonderfully healthy boy that would help complete both your life and mine, I would not have found my other special half. So I will think of that when I hopefully hear the announcement that "It's a boy" someday - maybe, maybe not. I will just plug my nose, close my eyes, and jump into the waters of mother/son relations, and give you a call when I'm crying because my son told me to stop kissing his cheeks.

I once had a blog commentor request that I write something about the duties and roles of a mother-in-law, as she had just become one. I guess my answer would have to be this, and I mean this honestly: Be a mother-in-law like mine. Someone who is passionate and strong. Someone who may not always agree, but is always willing to try. Someone who accepts, and forgives, and loves. Someone who is an amazing Nonna, and even better friend.
Someone who is capable of raising a son like my husband.

I owe you big time. And so I promise you, I am not perfect - I never will be - but, I will make sure that I annually re-read my "Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands" book.

I will love your son, forever.

And you too.

Thanks Momma Lori,



Amy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amy said...

Okay... comment #2. Forgive me, I found an error in the first one so I deleted it. I will now repeat (minus the error).
That is so sweet! I think it might make my Auntie Lori cry... heck, I almost cried. Please tell Tyler 'Happy Birthday' all the way from Germany! We love you all!

Amy & Chad

Lori said...

My niece knows me well, I did cry! The first and second time I read it! First of all Rachel, I have no doubt that you will be a great boy mom. Secondly, you hit the nail on the head as far as the new wife taking care of the needs of your son. I am proud to say that my daughter-in-law takes the best care of my son! I thank you for that. As a parent the one thing you want most for your children is for them to find true happiness and I know my son has that in his life. I rest easy each night knowing that. Enjoy your day with my son on his birthday; he is a special man, my first born which always has a tender spot in any mother’s heart. Thank you for all the kind words but most of all thank you for loving my son. Oh and by the way, I love you too!
Tyler’s Mom

Alexis said...

You're killing me Rae! Cried like a baby, of course. That was so absolutely true about mothers and sons - but most importantly it was so wonderful that you paid tribute to Lori (and Don too) for sharing their incredible son with our family. The Haack's have blessed our lives in so many ways. They are loving, giving and so much fun to spend time with. Life has a weird way of teaching us lessons. I'm grateful to have been taught!
Happy Birthday Tyler and our love eternally to all the Haacks:)

Daron and Jamee said...

Rae, I was very touched. You do have a great mother in law who deserves to be recognized on her sons b-day.

You also made me think of how at every moment I should be thinking about treating Daron with the love and support that I would demand my sweet sons will get from their future wives.


Amy said...

My favorite line:

...if February 22, 1984 hadn't produced the wonderfully healthy boy that would help complete both your life and mine...

How sweet to think of it that way.

And I guess I will be Amy Minor now that there is another Amy commentor. :) You know you're popular when people have to use their last names.

Joan said...

LONG LIVE DR. LAURA and her books!!! I give the P.C.&F. of Husbands out as wedding gifts! I am obsessed.
Such a lovely tribute to Tyler's mama, Rae. Well done.