Monday, June 21, 2010

Children Are an Heritage of the Lord...

A recent post over at Segullah spoke of sons and aging and how quickly time passes, and it got me thinking of my own son (specifically, the eldest one) and an experience several years ago when I realized in a visceral way that he had become a man...emotionally, as well as physically. Until that moment, I had never understood that having a grown man for a son could bring me, as a mother, the kind of comfort and support that I'd previously received only from my husband. Nor had it ever occurred to me that I might need it.

It was a time of turmoil for my family, and I had flown in to stay with my son and his wife while I wrestled with some really scary problems another of my children was having. My husband was not able to accompany me that week, and I was trying to be strong with every piece of resilience I could muster. One evening, though, I returned from a particularly difficult session and couldn't keep a lid on my feelings. It was late at night, and as I was sharing the day's events, my fear and concern spilled over into tears. Immediately, my son moved to comfort me, the first time any of my children had ever done so––not that they hadn't brought me comfort just by being themselves, saying the right thing, or giving me a child's hug––but this was different. My son was offering support as an adult; he was giving me a shoulder to lean on in much the same way his father occasionally does.

The thing is, I'm a pretty stalwart and independent person, so I tend not to attract this sort of support from the world at large. But my husband understands, after all these years, that sometimes I do need it. And on that day, my son understood too. I felt his love and was grateful and surprised to realize that one of my own, a child I was accustomed to nurturing, could return the favor. In spades.

It was this feeling and realization that inspired the following poem, which happens to be one of my favorites that I have ever written, probably because its simple words hold such deep meaning for me. I wrote it in reaction to a photograph, taken by Anita Schiller, of a mother and her son in a market place in Italy. (Unfortunately, his silhouette does not show up in the depiction below, so you'll have to use your imagination.) For some reason, this man's obvious care and concern for his mom took me back to that evening in Southern California, reminding me of my own son and his unconditional love for me, demonstrated with such naturally expressed compassion. I knew that his kindness (and that of my other grown children, of course) would be one of the blessings of my old age. And I felt safe. And grateful. And oh, so blessed.

©2003 by Susan Noyes Anderson, His Children, Vantage Point Press
(Photograph ©2003 by Anita Schiller)

Oh for a son
when my head is bowed
and years have lined my face––
A stalwart son
with a gentle heart,
where I still hold
a mother’s place.

Oh, for a son
when eyes grow dim
and memories recede––
A spirited son,
a steadfast son,
who sees but does not
fear my need.

"Children are an heritage of the Lord, and the fruit of the womb is His reward" Psalms 127:3.


Caroline of Salsa Pie said...

Thank you for this post, Sue. It is beautiful beyond any words that I can summon. I love your poem.
There have been times as an adult where I provided comfort to my parents and it felt so good to be able to give back to them even if in such a small way.
I needed to hear this today. As my pregnancy progresses, the physical challenges that go along with it and parenting three small children can sometimes cloud my ability to appreciate the rewards I have been given. They are amazing rewards....

karen said...

Beautiful Sue! As hard as it is to see your children grow up, the comfort and strength they can now give back to you is a great blessing. Thanks for sharing this. That particular image in the book is one of my favorites too -as well as this poem. Just lovely.

ps I'm going to write about the wedding, I really am. I'm having a hard time collecting my thoughts. There was just so much.

Darlene said...

You know how I so often have to tell you that one of your posts has brought tears to my eyes (maybe even too often) but I have to tell you that this one brought tears to my sweet husband's eyes. I can understand it. How wonderful it is to have these grown up sons who can offer support when you need it. Your old age will be surrounded by this love and you ARE truly blessed. I am just thankful that I have one of these guys.

Braden said...

Oh Sue, thank you so much! That was beautiful. It ties in with so many things I've been thinking lately. Great post that choked me up.

jen said...

Now that I have a kind of adult son, I can kind of understand this. There just is something about a grown-man son. Thanks you.

Karen Mortensen said...

Wow. I am speechles. That was beautiful.

Joyful Noise said...

I am sure we must live in a parallel universe. At least I know that you have experienced some of the same feelings I have experienced. I just do not know how to express myself so beautifully. I have been going through some very hard times and two of my sons have been my greatest strength. You write beautifully.

Jess said...

What a beautiful thing- so simple, but meaningful. Brothers are the same when they grow up and decide that teasing their sister isn't as entertaining anymore.

Lisalulu said...

That was beautiful and quite meaningful. I spent the last 2 hours taking my mother to the Dr. and grocery shopping. I'm not so good at being patient with her. I will try harder.

VK said...

Thanks for the lift. I hope I give strength to my parents and I hope my children will give me continued strength as time passes.

My name is PJ. said...

Sooooooooooo beautiful, Sue!

This strikes home with me and, I would venture to guess, many others.

You have such talent!

Katie Blacker said...

wow gorgeous poem and story.

Jill said...

I see glimpses of this in my own sons. It's all part of this cycle of life. Thank the heavens for that.

Michelle said...


alecia said...

Love your blog! Thanks for sharing.

Heather Anderson said...

you made me cry

Serene is my name, not my life! said...

That was so wonderful. I sure hope my kids grow up to be good people.

Amy said...

Oh, how sweet! I never want my son to grow up, but that is probably because he is 2. I am sure I will feel differently when he is older.

Em said...

i have a hard time picturing brennan as adult, but i hope he is just as amazing.

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