Vows to My Son

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I never understood the purpose of marriage vows — not even when I was saying them at a courthouse. I saw them as a means to an end, as if they were something I had to recite in order to get my marriage certificate. (Romantic, I know. Did I mention the courthouse part?) I assumed that our promises were understood — spilled out through hundreds of 2 a.m. conversations, through an unspoken love language, through saying “yes” to his proposal. I assumed that defining and publicly declaring our vows was all about tradition and strange legal requirements.

And yet when the dark clouds recently rolled over my marriage (which they inevitably do), I surprisingly clung to those vows. I remembered promising to stick by him through sickness and hard times, and to accept the man in front of me as is. They echoed in my mind, reminding me that I subconsciously held onto those vows for a reason.

The vows helped maintain my perspective and remind me of my promises. My priorities.

And so I thought I’d do the same for my son.

I spend a lot of time thinking about the kind of mom I want to be and the kind of lessons I want to teach, so I figured I’d define and declare 15 promises to my son. I’ll make these motherhood vows as a reminder of what my heart really feels — especially for when stormy phases cloud my judgment.