mother son dance

Twenty-six years ago he was laid into my arms and our eyes met for the first time. Mine filled with tears, and his wide open and full of wonder. He was so peaceful and content. Almost as if he was fully aware of God’s mission for him and was merely assessing his new surroundings. Love settled heavy on me like a weighted blanket and all my dreams for my oldest son began to form.

Last weekend we met on the dance floor for our mother-son dance at his wedding. This time when our eyes met, time stopped and his entire childhood flashed before me. Every milestone and precious memory rose to the surface of my heart, slaying me to the core. Just yesterday I was rocking him to sleep and now he was gently guiding me across the floor to the song I sang to him when he was growing up, ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow.’

To say this moment was surreal is an absurd understatement. Not just because words don’t exist to describe what it feels like to gaze into the love-struck eyes of your newly married son who just said, “I do,” to the girl of his dreams, but also because my daughter, his baby sister, was playing and singing our song. I mean, is this real life? Apparently so…

The reality of knowing God graciously answered all the prayers I’ve prayed for my son over the years—his health, safety, success, happiness, well-being, and a life of love spent with his soulmate filled every inch of my heart space. I’ve been praying for my son’s future spouse since he was a baby, and our new daughter-in-love is a treasure. As my son and I circled the floor, his wedding band pressing into our intertwined fingers and his face beaming with love for his bride, the intensity of gratitude pulsing through my veins was intoxicating. I’m still love drunk.

The memory of this dance still sticks to the sides of my heart like an expensive merlot. A forever reminder of the quality of life I’ve had with my firstborn son. All of the joys and sorrows, celebrations and hardships, highlights and regrets representing a lifetime of blessings and uncompromising love.

While my love for my son will always settle heavy on me like a weighted blanket, now it comes with a knowing that the dreams we dare to dream for our children really do come true.

A self-described “sappy soul whisperer and sarcasm aficionado,” Shelby is a wife of 27 years & mom of three 20-something kiddos. She has a deep love for Jesus and storytelling, and most days she muses in rhetorical wonder over what God was thinking when He put her in charge of three humans. Although God’s quick to remind her how capable she is, apparently He sometimes does so while crossing His fingers behind His back. You can read her stories around the web and in print at Guideposts.