Like a long pass hurling towards the end zone, my fourth child came flying out of my body and into the doctor’s hands. After he gently placed Timmy into my welcoming arms, I stared, flummoxed. “What do I do with a boy?” I wondered. With three daughters at home, my life up to that point was all about dolls, frilly dresses, and hairbows. I’d become conditioned as a “girl’s mom” and was afraid I’d flunk in the boy department. Little did I know that the bond between me and this child would become one of the great love stories.

Through the years, Tim and I had a language all our own. We giggled constantly over things only we found to be silly. Enjoyed the same sports, had a love for all things historical, and pursued similar artistic interests.  When our hearts were broken, we became each other’s counselor. In the three years we had together after the girls moved on to college, a mutual respect developed not only for our thoughts, but for our privacy. Boys, just like their moms, sometimes need alone time to pick up the pieces of their lives. To me, he was perfection. No girl would ever be good enough for him.

Then, years later, it happened. Tim fell in love with a beautiful, high-spirited, empathic, and remarkable woman, Sarah. And for the next ten years they were together, first as best friends, finally as lovers. Last fall, Tim proposed, and she said yes. Oh, the joy in my heart to know he’d be deeply loved, and that she was more than good enough in the eyes of this soon-to-be mother-in-law.

The machine that is wedding planning was set in motion as we worked to determine the guest list, the music, food, venue, and so much more. The big day would be July 25th, 2020. But a nasty invader crept into our lives, our plans, our country, our world: COVID-19. Not only were Tim and Sarah’s wedding dreams no longer a possibility, but neither were the weddings of so many other couples. Employees were fired or furloughed, schools and gyms closed, the government’s response became muddled in politics, and worst of all, over 140 thousand lives in America alone were lost to the virus.

Like so many other young couples, Tim and Sarah canceled their wedding plans and began talking of eloping.

“What? You can’t do that without me,” I shrieked. “At least tell me where you’re going, and I’ll hide in the bushes to watch.”

The thought of not being there on his big day nearly destroyed me, but my true undoing was realizing one thing: the mother/son dance that I had dreamed about since he was a baby, our highly choreographed routine for all to see, wouldn’t happen. This was not how it was supposed to be!

Covid has taught me a lot during the past months – the importance of human connection and kindness, a new respect for life, and while money is necessary, family is more so. It’s also taught me the art in surrender, for there are treasures to be found in letting go of what I can’t control.

After having a good long cry over what I thought was one of the most important times in our lives, I began to see I wouldn’t miss out on anything because from the moment Tim was born, we’d been dancing together—both physically and emotionally. Whenever music played, we always somehow found our way into each other’s arms. More important was the waltz we took together through the years with our souls. The mother/son connection is strong, and we tethered our hearts together with the melodic beat of love.

On July 18th, Tim and Sarah were married with just their family present by way of Zoom. He has taken Sarah to be his wife, and together they will build a life with a home and children (many, I hope). And, while it would have been nice to have that moment together, I now know I don’t need it. Why complain about one dance when we’ve been doing it forever? And that is something I know will never change.