When Leah, our daughter-in-law-to-be, told me of plans for the wedding reception, she mentioned there would be a special time when, as the mother of the groom, I would dance with my son Jeff.
At first I thought, Oh, no, me out there on the dance floor with everyone watching! But, as the time approached, I began to look forward to the dance. How special to have a few minutes with Jeff at the reception, perhaps the last few moments I would get to spend with him before they left on their honeymoon and settled into their home in a different state or country.
I imagined the profound and wonderful things I might say to him during those moments. The wedding festivities went by in a blur, and finally the time came for our dance. As I reached up to my son's tall shoulder and he grasped my right hand, all of the things I had planned to say to him evaporated.
Instead, I found myself asking with concern, "I noticed you have been so busy you haven't eaten. Aren't you hungry?"
"I haven't eaten all day," he admitted, "but it's okay. they are putting together a basket of food from the reception for us to take in the car with us."
Looking down at his shoes I asked, "Do your feet hurt?"
"No, they are fine mom," he answered.
Soon the dance was over, and my friend Charlene was eager to know what Jeff and I had said. When I repeated the conversation, I laughed. Out there on the dance floor, I had asked my twenty-three-year-old son, who was an Air force officer and a brand-new husband, if he was hungry or if his feet hurt!
I sat down and took off my own too-tight shoes, then reconsidered my seemingly wasted opportunity. Perhaps it had been just right after all. During that dance, I had unconsciously performed my last act of mothering by reisiting my first.
When our children are newborns, our questions are always, "Are they hungry? Are they hurt?" And as they grow, these questions grow into prayers that fit each new stage of their lives: "God fill them and comfort them."
I put my shoes back on and made sure the basket of food was tucked into the backseat of Jeff and Leah's car before Jeff's college buddies started "decorating" it with plastic wrap. I was the one who borrowed the scissors from the receptionist so Jeff and Leah could cut the wrap to open the car door. After all, the need for parenting never really ends, not even with a final dance.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the generous hearts of mothers. and give me also a heart of love for all who are hungry and hurt.