Dear Lady at the table next to me:
Sorry, I wasn’t intentionally eavesdropping, but you were a little on the loud side, so it was unavoidable. And I get why you were loud: you were an excited kind of upset, and people tend to ratchet up the volume when they’re upset.
The thing is, what really caught my attention, is why you were upset. Your 28 year old baby boy asked a girl to marry him and she said yes, and you cannot fathom how this is can be happening. Not now. You haven’t met her, and you’re pretty sure you won’t like her. Why not? Because. Just because. And you’re pretty sure that she’ll have to win you over, earn your trust and your love. The whole thing just upsets you, and you want it to stop.
Lady…you’re doing it backwards.
Love her before you meet her. Trust her right from the start. This is the woman your son wants to spend forever with, and a few days beyond that if he can. You are not and will never be and never should be that woman; you did your job, you raised him, and I’m going to go out on a limb and presume you did a pretty decent job of it. Your son is a good man, right? Of course someone is going to love him and want to commit to being the other half of his soul.
That’s a good thing.
It’s not a competition. He doesn’t love her more, and doesn’t love you less—he loves you each differently. And this is the thing that stands out most to me, because I’ve been in that position: the boy I gave birth to became a damned fine man, and he met The Girl and fell in love. From the moment I knew about her, I liked her. He was smitten and she liked him back, and that's all I needed to know.
And when he asked her to marry him, I was thrilled. She brings out the best in him, and he wants to be the man she deserves.
Your son is probably a lot like mine. He has good taste and great judgment, he surrounds himself with wonderful, loyal friends; the woman he marries will be worthy of him.
If he loves her, how can I not? And better still, she obviously has great taste and superior judgment, because she chose him. If she loves him, how can I not love her?
I was right, too.
If you make her earn your trust and then your affection, you’ll have wasted so much time and the hard feelings you create might not ever be soothed. You'll miss out on so many wonderful moments, waiting for those feelings to come. And it really will be you on the losing end; you'll be on the outside looking in, by yourself while they move forward with their lives.
Respect your son; if this is the woman he loves, and she loves him back, then this is the woman your heart needs to be open to.
Respect yourself; you did a damned fine job raising a good man, you taught him to make good choices.
And if nothing else: she loves your son. She loves your son. That should be enough.
Lead with love. Everything else will follow.