Posted by Ilana Angel
It has been a very interesting weekend. By interesting of course I mean stressful, sad, and frightening. It was Passover, which was wonderful. It was my birthday, which was wonderful. It was also the first time my son took the car out on his own, which was wonderful for him, but sad for me. To be clear, I was painfully proud of him, but also very, very sad.
I am simply not prepared for the emotions of his growing up and taking a step into adulthood. I have been preparing for this day for 16 years and the fact is, I am not ready. My entire life is wrapped around this child and I don’t know what I will do when he goes to college and is not living with me. My heart soars with pride and aches with fear, which is unsettling.
This child is the first thing I think of when I wake up in the morning and the last thing I think about when I go to bed. He is the great love of my life and there is nothing I would not do in order to make his life better. His happiness and health are all I have been focused on for 16 years and I do not know how I will manage when he leaves our home.
I have been spending a lot of time with a gentleman friend we’ll call “Daniel”. (That’s #2 for those of you have been following the story.) He is the father of two daughters, one of which has already gone off to college in another city. He is a wonderful and connected father so he understands my fear, but is encouraging me to be brave and start letting him go.
I was with Daniel when my boy called to say he was taking the car out on his own, and I think I stopped breathing. I wanted him to wait until I got home, but Daniel said I needed to allow him the freedom to be a responsible kid instead of making him wait for me, which would have made him a child needing supervision instead of a young adult growing up.
I respect Daniel as a man and a father, but I am convinced nobody can ever understand how much I love my child. I am certain I love him more than any other parent loves their child. I was going to not listen to him, but he assured me it would be fine and in the end I let my son go out on his own. He called 20 minutes later to let me know he was home and safe.
I felt a relief that is indescribable and it made me cry. I cried because I let him go, cried because he was fine, and cried because I had allowed myself to lean on someone else in terms of my job as a mother. I have raised him alone and to have back up from Daniel was liberating and exhausting. Daniel was my friend and guide, and it really mattered.
I don’t know how parents manage when their children have one foot out the door. Daniel has been through it once and bless his heart because he will face it again in a couple of years. Daniel loves his children so when I tell him it’s hard for me and he tells me he understands, he actually does. Being a parent is a blessing, and really hard, but he knows.
My son is an amazing human being. I know this to be true because it is what I raised him to be. I would be doing a disservice to all my hard work if I did not now trust him after I have taught him to be so responsible. He deserves not only love, but my trust and respect. Instead of focusing on his one foot out the door, I need to embrace the one that is still in.
I had an interesting weekend. By interesting of course I mean exciting, happy, and joyous. I was able to be a grown up while allowing my son to practice being a grown up. Daniel made me laugh, eased my worry, and made me flutter. My son took a giant step towards independence and proved to me that I have been doing a good job as a mother.
I am sure I will cry each and every time my son takes the car out by himself. When he gets his own car, I will be bedridden with fear and anxiety. I have been terrified of this time for 16 years, but in the end I need to replace my fear with pride. He is a good boy. I am a good mother. We will get through these times if we trust, breathe and keep the faith.
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April 7, 2012 | 1:07 pm
Posted by Ilana Angel
It has always been interesting to me how I can look at something and see one thing, and someone else will look at the same thing and see something completely different. Perception and interpretation are fascinating to me. I have a very specific worldview. It is guided by my faith, my open heart, and by being a mother. People can agree on things but still not see things exactly the same, which I love. I recently saw a picture that made me think.
A young photographer named Alex Fortag took this photograph, and when I saw this woman I was drawn to her. I am attracted to people with stories, and this woman clearly has stories to tell. Her body had the appearance of an elephant from the mud, and I could not tell if she was happy or sad. I love that she is wearing lipstick, and when I looked into her crystal blue eyes I wanted to hear all of her stories. I am very curious about her.
The photographer had this to say about her subject:
A true San Franciscan, Carol Shulz began her love affair with the Pacific Ocean when Joplin lived on Haight, and remains deeply enamored with the arduous sea a half century later. The five mile bike ride she makes daily to her Mecca, Fort Funston, takes her past familiar monuments, both structural and human, that have been there for decades. Carol Shulz’s zest for life is infectious, and she refers to her daily body surfing ritual as “free electroshock therapy”. In a serendipitous meeting, I was fortunate enough to cross paths with the 79 year old woman who has been crowned San Francisco’s “Queen of Ocean Beach”.
To be honest, when I first looked at Ms. Shulz I was a little frightened by her. When I read her story however, I found myself in awe. This woman is 79 years old and she is living her life out loud and with no fear. She embraces her worldview and I am envious of that. She rides her bike, gets in the ocean, becomes one with the earth, and I imagine that it cleanses her soul of fear and bitterness. What a remarkable way to live a life.
I wish I was as brave as Ms. Shulz. I am trusting of people yet not particularly trusting of myself. That seems to be in stark contrast to her, as she strikes me as someone who has full trust in herself, but may be weary of others. I would like to meet her one day. I would like to ride with her to the sea, cover myself in the earth, and wash it away in the ocean with the prayer that some of my fear and sorrow will wash off with the mud.
This picture has had an impact on me. As human beings I think we have an obligation to each other to look a little closer at things. If we could just take a minute to not judge each other at first glance, it would be a kinder world wouldn’t it? Today is my birthday and with this new year I hope to be brave like Ms. Shulz. Life is a blessing and I owe it to myself to view things with grace. I’ll be able to do that if I keep the faith.
April 6, 2012 | 9:47 am
Posted by Ilana Angel
This weekend marks an important time for people of many faiths. It is Passover and also Good Friday and Easter Sunday. I am someone whose life is made easier with faith. I’m also one that does not judge people based on faith. The way I see it, faith allows us to lean on something bigger than ourselves, and if it gives us peace, then what the higher power is does not matter. Faith is beautiful and not about religion.
I hope that the people who celebrate the holidays of this weekend find peace within their faith. For me, the weekend is about prayer. Prayers of thanks for my Jewish life, prayers of thanks for my blessed life, and prayers of thanks for the health and happiness of my family and friends. Regardless of faith, this weekend involves a lot of food. From Seder to Easter dinner, we are going to be eating lots of fabulous and delicious food.
Take time this weekend to be kind to a stranger. Share your blessings with people in need, and let your faith inspire you to be light to someone in the dark. Listen to a child laugh, reach out to someone you miss, ease someone’s sorrow, reflect on your struggles, make a new plan, love someone, be aware, be happy, cry tears of joy, hug like you mean it, and dance even if there is no music. Enjoy the weekend. Celebrate, reflect, and keep the faith.
April 5, 2012 | 12:59 pm
Posted by Ilana Angel
My son received his California Drivers License today. April 5th, 2012 will forever be known as the day I stopped sleeping. We went out for breakfast to celebrate, came home, and 10 minutes later be borrowed the car. He left 5 minutes ago to go to the mall, all by himself, and I cannot stop crying. I have loved this boy from the time I was a little girl. I used to dream about him when I was a child, and being his mother has been my wish for as long as I can remember. Today I have been his mom for 5918 days, yet it feels like he was just born yesterday. I have loved every single minute of being this remarkable human beings mother.
I did not cry until after he left, and I am proud of myself for that. I like to think he has no idea exactly how crazy I am, even though I know he is very clear of the level of my insanity. Before he left I made him go to the bathroom so he would not be distracted. He laughed, obliged, and gave me the look. A look that let me know he is painfully clear of how crazy his mother is, yet also let me know he loved me and knew this was hard for his mom. He assured me he would be careful, gave me a hug, told me not to worry, and he left just as my chin began to quiver.
He is a good driver. I believe he is ready and will be just fine. It’s all the other people on the road that freak me out. I have seen driving, even here in our sweet little neighborhood, that makes me want to get out of my car and punch people in the face. California is the land of really bad drivers. I worry every time he left the house before he got his license, but now it will be just a little bit scarier. For every prayer he had waiting for this day to come quickly, I had the same prayer hoping it would come slowly. It is a defining moment for him as a young adult, and also for me as his mother.
When our children are babies, we wait for them to walk, then pray they will sit down. We pray for them to talk, then wish they would be quiet. We pray they will drive so the schlepping can stop, then wish they failed their test and we could schlep them for just a little longer. I am working, he is on spring break, and I would have dropped everything to drive him to the mall today. My schlepping has been replaced with waiting. Waiting for the call he has arrived safely, and for the sound of the car pulling into the driveway.
I remember his first kick in my stomach, the first time I heard his heartbeat, and the first time I saw his perfect little face. I remember the first time he told me loved me. I remember when he packed all his favorite things and ran away because I would not make him macaroni and cheese for lunch. I remember the first time he went to the movies without me and called me to tell me not to worry. I remember his first love and his first heartache. Now I will remember the first time he took the car out on his own. Each first is a blessing. I am in love with him, proud of him, and keeping the faith.
April 3, 2012 | 10:38 pm
Posted by Ilana Angel
This weekend will mark my 46th birthday. I don’t feel 46, or look 46, but I will in fact be 46. I can vividly remember when my mother turned 35 and I thought she was the oldest person in the world. My mother is only 22 years older than I am. I have dated men who were 22 years older than I am, which is just creepy. I am 30 years older than my son and if he ever dates someone my age I am going to lose my mind and hurt someone. By someone, of course I mean the perverted old woman who wants to date my baby.
I feel prettier at 46 than I did at 36, 26, or 16. I am aware of who I am as a human being, a mother, a friend, a sister, and a lover. I have earned every grey hair and every wrinkle. I am not ashamed of my body, my choices, my opinions, my goals, my dreams, or my fears. I am hopeful. I am free. I am scared. Hopeful that the world will be kind to my child and allow him to live his best life. Free to speak my mind and have people who not only fight for my voice to be heard, but encourage me to share that voice.
I am scared that I will live the rest of my life alone because I was not brave enough to allow myself to find love again. I have survived a broken marriage and a broken heart, and sometimes the memory of that broken heart allows my hope to be trumped by fear. I am my best self in a great relationship, but comfortable and happy enough in my life alone that there is no desperate need to have one, only a desire. The sad thing about being alone is that the only way to end that is to date, and dating sucks.
I have been on a few dates with a man I have been calling #2. He is lovely and I am having a good time. He is funny, charming, smart, strong, supportive, and kind. He is also a smart ass and sarcastic. He makes me laugh, think, and flutter. He is also the only man in a very long time that I have had more than one date with. I am old, tired, slightly jaded, and not interested in wasting my time, or anyone else’s, so for me going on a lot of bad first dates is how my dating life has been playing out.
I met this man through JDate and he is not at all my type. If you read my column with any regularity, you know that I have gone out with a series of schmucks, so using that as the criteria, this man is not a schmuck, and so he is automatically not my type. I suppose there is a chance he could turn out to be a putz as we’ve all been tricked before, but I have a good feeling about this one. I’m not sure where it will go, but a friendship is being built and that is a great thing. I am enjoying my new friend.
I will panic of course and try to sabotage it. I will grab hold of something silly and use it as a reason to not see him. I will get scared, get crazy, and get embarrassed. It’s what women do, and it does not matter that we tell ourselves we are not going to be lunatics, it is simply in our genes and it’s going to happen. Not much we can do about it, and no point in warning them because it makes us look insane, so we jump in, hold our breath, and pray they are strong enough, and smart enough, to hang on.
I am not a huge fan of Twitter. I think it’s a mean place and I spend a lot of time thinking about the day I will quit. You can imagine my surprise that Twitter has now become a support group of sorts. In a moment of panic, I tweeted that I was on my way to a date, the first one with #2, and that I was nervous. That led to a series of tweets that took my breath away. My followers started to send me tweets of support. People let me know they were pulling for me and that I deserved to find someone great.
I sometimes forget people other than my friends and my mother read my blogs, and that these people jumped in to support me was lovely. I heard from married women who said they hope I find a man like theirs, single women who are in the same boat, men who warned me about how to spot a schmuck, and young people saying I gave inspiration to their parents. The tweets made me laugh and cry. I could not believe this social media site, which had been so painful, was now kind. I adore these people who have become invested in my journey.
As I turn 46, I find myself thankful. I love my son and my family. I love my work and know good things are going to happen professionally. I love my friends, both those who hold me up when I am weak, and those who have virtually come into my life to provide me with light and hope. Since there is a possibility I will not live to be 92, I am not middle aged as much as I am old, and I must tell you, old is good. I have overcome much to be here and I owe it to myself to now count my blessings and keep the faith.
April 1, 2012 | 12:20 pm
Posted by Ilana Angel
PLEASE NOTE: THIS VIDEO CONTAINS MATURE SUBJECT MATTER AND MAY NOT BE SUITABLE FOR ALL READERS. IF YOU ARE OFFENDED BY SEXUALLY EXPLICIT LANGUAGE PLEASE DO NOT VIEW.
I have spent many years on and off of JDate. It is a necessary evil in the modern day search for love. For someone like me, who only dates Jewish men, it is an obvious yet depressing choice. I am not a fan of online dating but since most of my dating comes from JDate, I often complain about it.
I had a couple of long term relationships with men I met on JDate, and have recently been out on a couple of dates with a man I met there that could become a relationship because we really like each other. JDate is a haystack full of crap with some needles thrown in for those willing to search.
I was recently sent this video and thought it was funny, but when I got to the last line, it suddenly became perfection. If you have spent any time on JDate you quickly see that it is sex driven. I imagine Ashley Madison may be the only other dating site that has more sex drive than JDate.
Are Jews super sexual? If you look at 10 random profiles on JDate you will be surprised by how many reference sex. They openly discuss that they want it, are looking for it, and in some cases demand it. I once went out with a man who said he needs sex on a first date to continue.
This video is a funny, graphic, honest and brilliant look at online dating. It’s comedy to be sure, but it comes from a place of truth and that is always the source of great comedy. This type of thing happens in real life! The negotiations for sex when dating are a well choreographed dance.
I’ve never gone into negotiations quite like this, but I get it, appreciate it, marvel at it, and laugh out loud at it. Again, if you are easily offended by sexually explicit content, or are sensitive to graphic language, then please don’t watch it. If you can handle the truth, then take a look.
Sex is a difficult thing to talk about, especially when you are talking about it to someone you just met and know nothing about. Relationships are complicated without sex, so when you throw it in it changes everything. Would dating be easier if we had sex first and negotiated later?
I’m guessing men would like that approach, but for women not so much. Sex is a great and powerful thing and it makes sense that it would involve negotiations, but if a guy ever negotiated with me like the guy in the video, I would get another cat and never date again. Ever.
Today I am going on my third date with a man I met on JDate. He is Jewish, funny, smart, handsome, caring, and supportive. He makes my heart flutter so at some point we may need to do some of own sexual negotiations. I am nervous, excited, and keeping the faith.