“Mom, will you run up to the mall with me Sunday after church? I’ve narrowed my wedding attire down to two different suits and I’d like to have your thoughts.”

I indicated that I’d be happy to do that, fully aware that he has taken the stand that if he can’t see Larisa’s wedding dress until the wedding, then she can’t see his suit until the day of the wedding either.

This youngest of mine is a senior in college. He attends Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, two hours north of our home in Central Illinois. Mark and I teased him from day one in college that when he came home on the weekends, it wasn’t to see us. His then girlfriend, Larisa, was attending college in our community and, of course, he wanted to see her…a lot! Ahhhhh….young love.

On this particular Sunday, however, I thought that it was logical that my boy and I could catch some lunch either before or after we hit the mall.  I didn’t mention lunch ahead of time…I just assumed it would work. As we pulled out of the church parking lot, I said to him, “So do you want to grab some lunch, too?”

“No, Larisa’s making lunch for me. She likes to do that,” he responded.

That’s when it hit me. There’s another woman in my son’s life now and she’s moving up the priority list the closer they get to their wedding date in December.

It’s what should be happening, but that doesn’t make it any easier on a mama’s heart. Letting go is never easy.

I found myself at a crossroads. I internally considered what I perceived as my three choices in this moment:

  1. Incite guilt with a slightly snarky response that “his mother also likes to have lunch with him” or that he “had already seen her 10 times more than he’d seen his dad and I that weekend.”
  2. Stuff it and say nothing, allowing the pain to sear my heart and a few wall-building bricks to be laid in my heart between my son and I.
  3. Release and accept it, asking God to help me adjust my expectations, accept the reality of letting go, and be grateful for the one-on-one time we would still have for the next hour or so at the mall.

While my head wanted to react almost immediately with option #1, thankfully I held my tongue. In the timespan of just a minute or so, I mulled my options over in my head. He was oblivious to the battle going on inside of me. Landing on Option #3 allowed me to make a quick internal adjustment, focus on gratitude, and enjoy the time we still had together.

Letting go is never easy. It doesn’t matter if you’re leaving a little one for an overnight getaway with your husband, or sending your five-year-old off to school, or driving your pre-teen to their first slumber party, or letting your 16-year-old take their first drive alone, or sending your young adult off to college, or watching your child prepare for marriage.

We can look at each of those situations through the eyes of loss or gain. Sometimes we can process that choice over the weeks and months of a season of time and other times, like my recent Sunday, we have to make a split second decision on how we’re going to let go gracefully.

It’s true that there’s another woman in Austin’s life. I’m naturally moving down the priority list. That’s the reality of them living out Genesis 2:24 calling a couple to “leave and cleave” when they get married.

Yes, there’s some grief in the journey, but today and each day forward I’m choosing to look through the eyes of gain rather than loss.

I’m not losing a son, but gaining a daughter.

What about you? How are you handling the changes in life? What is God teaching you in your journey of parenting? 

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