Mom didn’t have anything specific against Nate, although she didn’t know him very well. Her objection to our sprint toward the altar had more to do with surprising her than upsetting her. My sister had had a year-long engagement, and in Mom’s opinion, that was the wisest way to approach marriage. A long engagement would let Nate get one more year of law school under his belt and would give her enough time to plan a wedding.
But in my opinion, she wasn’t considering our point of view with the stress of carrying on a long-distance relationship. To Nate and I it seemed impractical, unnecessary and painful to postpone being together.
Nate wasn’t discouraged and began making an effort to win Mom’s approval. As his Army commitment ended, he came to my house for a week’s visit, willingly placing himself under close parental scrutiny.
When he arrived, he presented Mom with a gift, a black and white Wedgwood china planter, big enough for a ten inch pot to fit inside, along with a stand to place it on. None of the other guys I’d dated through the years had ever brought such a beautiful gift to her, and she took note. Had he “researched” ahead of time to know how much she loved plants?
Nate began watching her and quickly offering to lift a heavy box or bring an item down from a high shelf. “Let me do that,” he’d say. And Mom noticed. He also did something else none of my other boyfriends had done. He hugged her. She began looking forward to those and once in a while initiated them herself.
Before long, she began to treat him differently, more like one of her own. She still had an issue with planning a wedding in several weeks, but slowly she stopped talking about a year-long engagement. We started negotiations for a workable date, and in the end agreed on Thanksgiving weekend.
Mom’s extra perk was that many of our relatives arrived early enough to share Thanksgiving dinner with us. Nate’s and my perk was having to wait only a couple of months longer than we’d originally planned.
The Lord wants us to honor our parents. Scripture says we’re to show respect for them, listen to their counsel and figure out ways to bring them joy. We’re also to avoid causing them grief and to bless them whenever possible. In approaching Mom as he had, Nate had followed God’s design for acting wisely. And it paid off, as obedience to the Lord always does.
The biggest surprise, however, wasn’t given to Nate. Mom gave it to me. One day she handed me a pretty gift-wrapped package and said, “This is something I bought for you many years ago. Finally the time is right to give it to you.”
Inside was a glittering, hobnail glass slipper.
“I was waiting until you found your prince charming. You’ve known for a long time Nate was the one, and I wasn’t so sure. But now I know it, too.”
It was a fairytale ending to what had been a distressing few weeks, and Mom was letting me know she thought Nate and I would live happily ever after.
“Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.” (Proverbs 1:8)