"A son is a son til he takes a wife, but a daughter's a daughter all her life."
Mom loved that saying. She gloated because her only child was a daughter and that guaranteed her a bright future. As I grew up she'd point out people we knew and their behavior, especially around the holidays. Those stereotypical sons went off to their in-laws forsaking their own family. No good daughter would do that.
My mother enjoyed her idioms like "a penny saved is a penny earned," "early to bed, early to rise " and "blood is thicker than water." But her favorite was the one that praised a daughter's loyalty and pitied the poor unfortunate mother who bore only sons.
My three sons never went to daycare. Mom cared for them in my home. The boys were the apples of her eye and Mom loved them more than life itself. But she warned me that one day they would fall in love and get married and leave me to compete with in-laws for their time and attention.
When my son Dana was a junior in high school, he invited a young lady to the prom. I had never met Holly, but Dana said they'd been friends since fourth grade. The evening of the prom he brought her home so I could meet her and take pictures. Holly reminded me of the Olympic figure skater, Katarina Witt. She had big eyes, a beautiful smile, was a little shy and looked stunning and elegant in her long black gown. That was May 1999.
Holly and Dana have been together ever since. They graduated the following June. Holly went to Concordia College in Portland, Ore., and Dana attended the University of Oregon. They were separated by a two-hour drive for four years, but worked at keeping their relationship strong. Holly got her teaching credential and accepted a kindergarten teacher position near Salem. A few months later, Dana followed her. They became engaged at Christmas, 2005 and they were married the following summer.
Mom passed away in 1989, a week before Dana turned 7, so she did not get to meet Holly or attend her grandson's wedding.
Holly and Dana planned to come to Crescent City last week for Veterans Day weekend. But Dana, who also works for a newspaper, was unable to get the days off. I assumed we'd try for another time, but Holly asked if it was OK if she and her mom came instead. This was not the first time Holly asked me to do something with her and her mother, Kathy. A couple of years ago she invited me to go shopping with them for Holly's wedding gown.
Last weekend we three girls went out to lunch, shopped at craft fairs and sipped hot chocolate and lattes together during the storm on Saturday. It was quality mother-daughter time together, something I never experienced raising three sons.
When we spotted an infant or baby clothes or toys, the subject of grandchildren came up. Holly said she and Dana are "talking about it" and hope to have a boy and a girl someday. I was tempted to recant my mother's favorite saying but thought twice about it. If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all, I thought. Besides, Mom was wrong. I haven't lost a single son as of this writing. Boys will be boys, of course, but a daughter-in-law is a blessing in disguise.