Posted by Ilana Angel
My son has been on holiday with his dad for the past 11 days. He will be home on Saturday and even just writing that here makes me want to scream I’m so excited. I miss him so much that it actually hurts. Last night the silence in my home was so deafening that I ended up sleeping in his room just so I could somehow feel closer to him. He calls and checks in to see if I’m okay and when he called yesterday he asked if I had any good dates while he was gone and if there was anyone he needed to check out for me. This kid is seriously adorable.
My son and I talk about everything. I mean everything. He has been raised to respect me and trust me and knows that I will keep his secrets safe and he will always be my top priority. We have a perfect friendship but he is very clear that I am his mother first and his friend second. He is compassionate and kind to both his friends and strangers and will always extend a hand to those less fortunate than himself. He looks out for me. It is very sweet how he “protects” me. He has been the man in my life for his entire life and the thought of bringing another man into our inner circle is exciting and terrifying for us both.
My son has a fabulous group of friends. They are all charming and funny and while he has been away they have checked in on me to make sure I’m ok and managing with him gone. They write me on Facebook with funny messages and comment on what I write myself. They are all handsome, smart, talented and delicious boys. I don’t remember boys being this great when I was 13 years old. If only I was twenty years younger, and they were 20years older, I’d have a crush on these boys. I say this of course in the totally cute Jewish mother kvelling over her son and his friends point of view, not any creepy, weird mom kind of way!
Just as I did when I was 13, right this minute there are young women who are dreaming about meeting wonderful men when they grow up. They want them to be kind and funny and smart. They want them to be supportive and gentle. They can imagine getting married and having children and raising them in Jewish homes. The girls that are lucky enough to meet my son and his friends are going to be blessed to be loved by them and will have hit the jackpot.
If 50% of people find happiness in a marriage then I will happily never get married again to ensure that my son is the 50% of our family who will succeed. He is becoming a glorious man and there is a very lucky little girl out there who is dreaming about her future right now and has no idea that the fantasy man she is developing in her head is being raised right now in my home. All I need to do is stay on track with the goals for my son and all she needs to do is keep the faith.
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August 17, 2009 | 1:37 pm
Posted by Ilana Angel
When you are in the beginning stages of dating I think there is a lot of thought and effort that goes into selecting what you are going to do. It’s easier to choose an activity when you are in a relationship because it’s more of a negotiation. When it’s a boyfriend we say what we want, he says we just did that, we say fine and suggest a movie, we pick a chick flick, he refuses and wants an action picture, we remind him we just saw one, he says our choice is too painful to sit through, we bat our eyelashes and use our charm to talk him into it, he goes kicking and screaming reminding us that the next movie pick is his, we get to the theater annoyed because he’s been complaining for an hour, we watch the movie, he cries and can’t believe how moved he was by the romantic story, he then wipes his eyes and talks for two weeks about how it was the dumbest movie he ever saw and we owe him. It’s so easy!
On a recent first date we went to a movie and dinner. Classic. It was an artsy and fun short film festival that was very low key so we could chat between films and it allowed us to talk and be social. We then went to CPK for dinner. Now restaurant selection is very important in the early stages of dating. Italian is out because it can be messy and the meals are always too big and if you’re starving and eat it all you’re a pig and if you only pick at it so you don’t look like a pig, you look like you don’t eat which is even more unattractive. Italian is out. Sushi is my favorite meal but sushi can be tricky because there are a lot of opportunities to eat really disgusting things so you need to know each other well enough to be comfortable enough to say that you are not going to eat anything gross and have it be ok. Early dinner dates need to be at neutral places where they have a wide selection of options including the perfect first date choices of salad or fish.
It’s important to note that when you and/or your date have young kids the dating process is slightly different. In these cases we tend to talk on the phone a lot more because we don’t as many free evenings. Think of dating with kids as being similar to dating in dog years. Every one date for someone without kids is the equivalent of three dates for someone with young kids. If we use this theory, then my recent second date was actually our fourth date so I felt safe enough that sushi would be fine. We had spoken on the phone so much and gotten to know each other, so I felt comfortable telling him what I thought was gross, what I would not even allow him to eat in front of me, let alone try it myself, So sushi was perfect and we had a great meal. The meal was so good in fact that I think it actually made me lose my mind for a minute therefore agreeing to our third date being a hike. A hike!
OK. Listen to me, I exercise every day. I’m not a fanatic about it but it’s important to me and varies from a daily walk that can be anything from two miles to ten miles. I also hike up Runyon Canyon between one and three times a week. For those of you who read my blog regularly, you know that I complain the entire hike. I hike with a group of friends and they are all troopers and push me on and it’s like going out with a bunch of personal trainers. I feel so accomplished when I’m done and I’m building up my strength and stamina for the climbing. Distance is not an issue but climbing is the enemy. Again, please note that I said I “exercise”. I did not say that I “worked out”. Knowing this about myself, why would I ever agree to a hike? Maybe it was the great second date, maybe it was his beautiful green eyes, maybe it was me feeling brave. Maybe it was a moment of temporary insanity.
Whatever it was, we went for a hike up Temescal Canyon yesterday morning. His 6’2” stride is jamming up the mountain and my 5’3” baby steps are struggling to keep up. He was a doll and supportive and I thought it was romantic that each time it looked like my next step might be my last, he would stop to show me a plant or a tree or a bug so I could catch my breath. When we stopped at one point to look at the view and he leaned over to give me a kiss I was so taken by the entire experience that I didn’t notice that he had his hand on my back while I was sweating as if I had just eaten a bowl of habanero peppers. I made it to the point he had planned for us to get to which was a great thing.
Like I do when I go with my friends, I felt proud to have made it and inspired to try it again. It helped that at one point a young couple walked by us and the girl, who was about 24 and a size 0, was huffing and puffing and her boyfriend was pushing her up the hill. Whoever that girl was, I love you. It also helped that while I was dragging myself along not sure if I could finish, and worried about my breathing and my sweating, this delicious man looked at me and I knew that even when I was uncertain, he was keeping the faith.
August 16, 2009 | 3:15 pm
Posted by Ilana Angel
I have a certain “type” of man that I tend to be attracted to. He is first and foremost Jewish. In terms of the physical, he is tall and bald with light eyes. He is funny, understands sarcasm and has a brilliant sense of humor and silliness. He has a love of children and Judaism and he thinks I am the greatest thing since sliced bread. I like a man with an edge. Not necessarily a bad boy, but a man with a history and a life. I love a man who has the ability to share his stories with others, both the good parts and the bad. My type is kind and aware and while he is not religious, he is spiritual and in tune with a higher power.
What’s so interesting to me is that as single people we all seem to have very clear types, yet we are still single so perhaps the trick is to not buy into what we think our types are, but rather look for something else. We must try to erase our ideas of what our type is from our minds, so that by changing things up a bit, we will perhaps stumble upon someone unexpected.
I want to meet a man who will make it clear how he feels about me without my having to fish. He will think I’m funny and not be intimidated by my sarcasm and strong personality. He will allow me to be vulnerable and share my own stories and history without fear. He will be wise and evolved enough to not judge. He will think I am beautiful just as I am. He will hold my hand, stroke my hair, laugh with me, and not think I’m crazy for being so in love with my cat. When I stumble and make a mistake or do something that hurts or offends him, he will forgive me and not hold a grudge. We will live and laugh and learn and grow. When we fall we will quickly get back up be stronger. He will be focused on building a future not reliving a past. This is the type of man I hope to meet.
Well I had my second date with “Richard” last night and I am happy to report that he is proving to be someone unexpected. Our time together is comfortable and easy and has an organic flow. Of course it could all be a mirage and by date three I might want out pull my own hair out to make it end quicker. One never really knows and I must trust both myself and him. I believe that God will guide me. I believe that good things come to those who wait. I am also learning that if you are able to remain hopeful, sometimes even better things will come to those who are able to be patient and regardless of how long the wait is, manage to keep the faith.
August 15, 2009 | 2:10 pm
Posted by Ilana Angel
I have long hair. I get a lot of compliments on it and it is actually quite beautiful, if I do say so myself. I had always planned to cut it all off when I turned 40 because I thought at 40 I should have an easy, short and sophisticated look. When I went to get it cut I panicked and worried that if I cut it all off the change would be too dramatic for me and I would freak out so I decided to cut just my bangs. Not the best idea I’ve ever had. I looked like Cleopatra for several weeks and decided right then that I was going to leave my locks alone and in spite of officially being middle aged, I was going to rock long hair.
So here I am 3 years later and I am faced with yet another hair dilemma. Do I embrace the sudden shades of gray that are appearing at an alarming rate or do I revere each and every gray hair as a sort of badge of honor knowing I have earned them? Why is it that when men get gray hair it is sexy and dignified? Speaking of which, why it is that men don’t have to shave their legs, wax any part of their body OR cover their gray hair. Sorry… I lost focus for a minute.
I’m sitting at home counting the hairs to see if it’s worth the trouble. Perhaps I could just pull them out instead of coloring them. Considering I have just counted gray hair number 412, I’m thinking that yanking these puppies out is probably not an option. As I look at the box of hair color, which clearly states the promise of 100% gray coverage, it occurs to me that the model on the box cannot possibly be over the age of 25. Am I to believe that this supermodel needs to cover her gray hair? I’m not buying it. She is a fake!
I’ve now decided that I’m going to keep my glorious gray hair. The young single girls may have higher boobs, flatter stomachs, fresher eggs and fewer wrinkles but what they don’t have is hard earned and sexy gray strands of flowing fantastic hair. I shall hold my head high, love my gray and wear it with pride. That could all change of course the moment a waiter calls me Ma’am instead of Miss. Should that happen he’s going to get an earful so I hope HE is keeping the faith.
August 14, 2009 | 2:29 pm
Posted by Ilana Angel
I went to a surprise birthday party for my friend Jill last night. It was such a great party and she was totally surprised. Her reaction was perfection. Mazel Tov to her husband Jeff and friend Laura for a job well done. You did it and it was fabulous. It was a fun night with a wonderful group of people and we all had a blast. I discovered a couple of things that are simply “must haves” for the single gal.
Every single woman needs a fabulous gay friend. I am blessed to have many and I’ve got to tell you they are divine. Now it could be a coincidence that they are great and just happen to be gay and I don’t want to stereotype but there is something about a gay man that brings things to my life that I don’t get from my other friends. They call me on all my crap. I’m not allowed to be self deprecating or feel sorry for myself. They simply won’t stand for it. They remind me that I am wonderful and any man would be lucky to have me and I should not settle. I don’t know about you but of all my friends who are in relationships, my gay friends have the type of relationship that I want for myself. They respect each other, are honest and open and while everyone has issues and struggles, they handle them with grace and positivity. In spending time with a group of my gay friends last night I was reminded that life is good and that if I’m having a bad day I can turn it around by simply changing my perspective. Again, they are not fabulous because they are gay, they are fabulous and just happen to be gay. Loads of love to Scott, Paul and Howard.
Additionally, every single woman needs a straight guy to be her wing man. Ari came with me to the party last night and he is the best wing man ever. He is charming and funny and does not need a babysitter. He made his way through the party and met some great people. We were not attached at the hip but I knew he was there with me and it was such a nice feeling. While we spent a lot of the party together, we both went off to do our own thing and yet if I looked around for him he would make eye contact and acknowledge that not only was he okay but made sure that I was okay. Now this was a party that I totally could have gone to on my own. I knew everyone there and I would have been fine but I think it’s nice to go with someone. Even the act of introducing him to people was a good feeling. To not be there alone was comforting. Having a man on your arm, regardless of whether they are your romantic partner or just a friend is a good thing and allows you to be single without being labeled as the “single” one. So thank you to Ari.
While I’m looking for love and hope to be in a relationship, I was reminded last night that I am okay on my own. I am blessed to have great friends and a happy and healthy child and my life is full. Some of my blogs could be perceived as my desperate quest to find love and the truth is that while I am on a quest, I am most certainly not desperate. I look at Scott and Paul and Jill and Jeff and I see the love they share and I know that I want it for myself and will not take whoever comes along and try to force him into a mold. I will view my quest as a puzzle and wait for the perfect piece. He’s out there and God willing he’s looking for me too. I’m going to take a deep breath, remind myself I am blessed and look at the world with joy not cynicism. These subtle little changes will make it very easy for me to keep the faith.
August 13, 2009 | 8:56 pm
Posted by Ilana Angel
Well my friends it happened. I had a great first date. I am judging the success of the date on the fact that we planned our second date before he left which is always a good sign. I won’t say anything else about it now for fear of jinxing it! I called Ari my “go-to for a man’s opinion” guy to talk about the date and while his outlook on dating is completely opposite from mine, it is one that I respect, admire and somewhat covet.
Sadly for me dating is like a job. There is a lack of anything organic about the entire process. The reason it is like that for me and others in my situation is because the opportunities for us to meet someone and have it be natural and a sign of fate are just not that possible. Our social lives tend to focus around our kids. Their social calendars are busier than ours and we spend a lot of time driving them around to their various activities and being on standby to pick him up. The majority of my time is spent around other parents and in my particular circle I am not a part of the majority and often the “single one” in a group of couples. The only way for me to really meet someone is to seek them out and be proactive by getting set up by friends or looking online.
For Ari, he is very mellow about it and feels like it will happen for him in a very organic and natural way. He is not actively pursuing love. He is open to it certainly and will be ready for it when it comes, but he waits for it to make itself known. He feels that to force it or work so hard to make it happen will perhaps make him settle and create something with someone that is not there because when you are looking intently for something and you don’t find exactly what you want, you may be tempted to settle for something else just so you can stop looking.
As single people we need to never settle. We will find exactly what we want. I honestly believe there is a Beshert out there for everyone. That said we also need to be careful to not become complacent. If we sit around and wait we can easily get caught up in our routine and get so used to not looking that not looking becomes not interested. I have a single friend Kristina who is 27 and stunning. A really fantastic girl who is educated and funny and looking for love. Her issue is that she works and has a full life and social circle but it’s hard to find time to venture out of her circle because life is so busy. She is in a huge predicament because she is in my position in terms of the steps she needs to take to meet someone and in Ari’s position in terms of how she feels she will find love and I really feel for her because at some point she will really need to search it out like me even though she wants to find it natually like Ari. (Maybe I should arrange for them to magically meet in the frozen food section at Gelsons!)
At the end of the day there is no right or wrong way. We are all hoping to go through life with a partner, lover and friend. I’m looking forward to my second date on Sunday night and and am enjoying this moment in the dating process where anything is possible. Whether you are searching or waiting is irrelevant. We are all hopeless romantics and we will have the outcome we desire as long as we remember to keep the faith.
August 12, 2009 | 2:36 pm
Posted by Ilana Angel
I usually wake up around 6 o’clock every morning. I will go for a walk and just enjoy how quiet everything is before the day comes alive. I think about my plans, my schedule for the day and the things I need to do. I make lists in my head of the stuff I need to take care of for myself, my son, my job. I pray. That’s my morning routine.
I am aware every day that my greatest blessing is being a mother to my child. I have gratitude for my family and my friends. I am committed to my faith, my dreams and my hopes for both myself, my son, my friends and my family. I am happy when I write my blog and have a million things that I want to talk about in terms of dating and being single and relationships. I’ve got stories of my own and from others that I want to share because I think they will entertain, enlighten and resonate. With all that said I have a date tonight and that I am even able to put these few sentences together is a miracle.
I feel sick to my stomach and go back and forth between being excited and wanting to cancel. Really? I’m 43 years old and it’s not like this is my first date. I don’t get it. Can someone please explain to me why this one particular date is throwing me off my game? He’s a nice guy. It will be fun. I will be fine. I am confident and open and dating is not a problem for me. While I’m certainly not a huge fan of dating, I do it and I work it and I’m committed to meeting someone so I make it happen.
I guess I just never thought I would be at this place in my life at this time of my life. It’s weird to be living the life I led in my 20’s when I’m now in my 40’s and responsible for a life other than my own. Dating is tough when you’re young and almost embarrassing when you’re old. You are reminded that you have a failed marriage or series of failed relationships. You get all dolled up and look your best and then have to go out and admit to a stranger that you are worth taking a chance on when you’ve got a not so stellar track record. It’s a brutal situation to be in.
To all my married and in a relationship friends and readers, tell your spouse/partner that you love them and fix whatever is broken because it is a jungle out here and trust me, you DO NOT want to be here. To all my single friends and readers, we’re all in the same boat and rather than be embarrassed, just look around the boat and pass a life preserver when you see someone who needs it because even when it feels like the boat is sinking, all will be well if we just keep the faith.
August 11, 2009 | 12:58 pm
Posted by Ilana Angel
I have a date tomorrow night. Not a meet up for coffee, grab a quick drink date, but a real old fashioned pick me up and go to a movie, have some dinner, drive me home date. It’s charming and he’s charming and I’m looking forward to it. I know we will have a lovely time with lots to talk about. It will be comfortable and safe and the beginning of what I think will be a great friendship. Also worth mentioning, I feel sick to my stomach about the whole thing.
My most recent relationship ended last year and my heart was broken. It broke not only my heart but my spirit. I was blindsided. We were happy and building a life together. He was involved in the life of my son, we were together every day and were connected on a spiritual plane that was magical. One day he simply changed him mind and decided he wanted something else. We never spoke about it, there was no indication it was coming. My life went from black to white in an instant with no gray transition. Does that make sense?
I was sad for a long time. Sad because I lost someone that I loved very much but also sad because I lost a piece of myself. I lost the ability to trust myself. I beat myself up for not seeing it coming and not knowing what was about to happen and that is ridiculous because the issues were his not mine. Relationships are great. They take work and focus and communication. I think there is a difference between something being hard and something taking work. For me, relationships take a lot of work but should not be hard. Break ups are hard. Really, really hard.
Breaking up is hard for everyone. It takes on a different tone however when kids are involved and even a harsher tone when it’s not a divorce but just a break up. My son was a baby when I got divorced. He has no memory of our ever being together as a family. He has grown up with two homes and so that situation did not have anything for him to adjust to. Now though, it’s harder. He is a teenager and sees me in a relationship that is caring and wonderful and then it just ends and no matter how hard you try to hide sadness from your kids, they know and he felt the loss of the relationship not only for himself but for me too.
I’m not talking about it now to hash up the past or feel sorry for myself. I bring it up because I think there are a lot of women reading this who get it and understand. When you go through a break up you are convinced that you’re the only person who has ever been hurt this way and believe that no one could possibly understand what you are feeling. That is just not true. Not only do you know what I’m talking about but maybe you’ve been there or know someone who has and that is comforting and should bring us all strength.
A broken heart will knock you on your butt for a minute or a day or a month or however long it takes you to breathe again. I know I will find my way and find my Beshert and God will be with me for every step. I’m excited about my date tomorrow because I know that he gets me and when he reads this blog it will not scare him or freak him out. It will make him smile and think I’m a total dork.
At the end of the day we will all survive our break ups and come out stronger and wiser and hopefully thinner. Love is grand and life is blessed and all it really takes to understand how the whole thing works is having the ability to keep the faith.