Mom knows best is a common adage for a reason, right?My mother chose my husband. Thirty years later, I chose my daughter's husband. No, these were not arranged marriages. They were simply the influences of a mother upon her daughter's choice for a mate.
I met my husband, Terry, in seventh grade, and we started to "go steady" in eighth grade. His family moved down the road from my house while we were in high school so he became a regular visitor at my home. We were the typical all-American high school couple. He was an athlete; I was a cheerleader. He was blonde, blue-eyed, and always wore a smile. My mother came to adore him. She always greeted him warmly and made his favorite foods when he came to dinner.
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Through the course of our high school years, Terry and I did, however, have our share of break-ups. We dated other people, but always remained friends. My mother never cared about the other boys I dated. She would hide behind the newspaper, or go to another room if my date came into the house. (Thankfully, my dad was more congenial.) I think my mom felt a sense of betrayal to Terry if she accepted or even acknowledged the other boys I dated. It was her quiet, yet potent way of communicating that Terry was the right guy for me. And she was right.
My mother was one wise lady. She knew intuitively that sweetheart of a boy would turn out to be a wonderful husband and father. She was able to see qualities in Terry that I, as a teenager, may have missed or taken for granted. Terry was kind, thoughtful and sincere. Most of all, he truly loved me and my family.
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Mom passed away when our twins (Beth and Ben) were almost five years old. Terry and I had been married 12 years at that point. She knew that, as a couple, Terry and I had experienced some highs and lows, but she was able to see us prevail and conquer. Her greatest joys in life were her children, then her grandchildren.
Mom did not get to see her lovely granddaughter grow up, yet her guiding presence was still among us years later. I believe that it was her wisdom guiding me when my daughter, Beth, entered that serious stage of dating in college-but I'll let her tell you about it.
Beth's story: From the very first day of college, I was placed in a CORE group. This group was meant to help freshmen transition into college life. Four people quickly clicked: me, another girl, and two guys. We quickly found ourselves spending time together, whether it was going on walks, throwing the football, or simply hanging out. Before too long, I found myself attracted to Matt*. He was funny, loved sports like myself, and was one of the first guys in my life I'd actually been truly interested in. I was not one to date much in high school as I was known to have a long list of requirements for my future husband.
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Our university had a scheduled fall break several weeks into the school year. My parents encouraged me to bring home some of my new friends for the long weekend. As the weekend approached, I was so excited for my parents to meet Matt. I had been sharing stories with my mom over the phone from the beginning of the year, but we all know that meeting someone makes a big difference! My attention, excitement, and feelings were all focused on Matt. I was having fun with everyone else, yes, but Matt was the guy who had won some of my heart already.
Through the course of the weekend, my mom and I had a moment away from everyone and I asked her with great anticipation what she thought of Matt. She smiled back, paused, laced her fingers together, and said slowly, "He is really nice, but Dad and I like Nate."
"Nate?" I responded. I was kind of in shock as I hadn't given Nate a second thought as anything more than a friend. Mom shared a few reasons why she and dad admired Nate as a possibility for me and that was all I needed. They saw Nate as personable, mature, and grounded. I trust my mom and dad's opinion and advice so much that from that morning forward, my subtle attention was directed to Nate. And what did I start to notice? Nate was giving me more attention than Matt! I realized then that I may have reading more into that friendship with Matt than was really there. I became mindful of Nate and his positive qualities and began to invest more in our friendship.
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When we returned to campus, Nate was heavily pursuing a deeper friendship with me, and I found myself attracted to him. I decided to be prayerful and proceed with my courtship with Nate. As time went on, I met Nate's family and began to enjoy more and more time and activities with Nate: sports, games, talking, walking, and running. We even shared a similar major in college so we had a few classes together. My college years would not have been so sweet without the fairytale story of falling in love with Nate.
To this day, my mom and I reminisce about her and dad interceding and sharing their opinion that Nate was the better guy for me. Yes, I truly believe that the weekend home in October 2002 was a defining moment in my life. My path was headed in a new direction thanks to the guidance received from my loving parents.
Six weeks after her college graduation, Beth and Nate were married. (Nate graduated a year early and worked that year before they were married. Smart guy.) Six years later, they blessed us with a beautiful granddaughter.
Terry and I love having been a part in their coming together-much like my mom had a huge hand in me being with Terry. It brings a lot of comfort and encouragement to us all, even in the hard times.
So what does this story offer you, the reader? If you are a mom, remember what a powerful influence you are upon your children. And if you are a daughter, honor your mother by at least listening to her. Remember that nobody loves you like your mother, nobody knows you like your mother, and nobody wants what is best for you like your mother.
When we are young, there is that natural tendency to sprout our wings and fly independently of our loved ones. We have our own thoughts and ideas on how we should live our lives, and we may see our parents' viewpoints as interfering and old-fashioned. I have seen girls who rejected their parents' counseling and fall into heartache. These girls regret not listening or paying heed to the advice or perceptions of their parents.
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A mother especially has a keen awareness when it comes to her children. I have enough friends with daughters to observe this first-hand. As a Christian, I was always encouraged to have a teachable spirit, and I tried to exhort Beth to have the same. The Bible says that there is wisdom in a multitude of counselors. Proverbs tells us that fools rebuke teaching and wisdom (Proverbs 23:9). I listened to my mom, Beth listened to me, and we are confident that someday Beth's daughter will listen to her.
Mother's Day just passed, and both of my children were home, along with my son-in-law and granddaughter. As we sat around visiting that morning enjoying our granddaughter, I was so thankful to look across the room at my husband and feel such completeness. All I could do was whisper a prayer toward heaven and say, "Thanks, Mom!"
*name has been changed
Written by Luann Haskins for YourTango.com.
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