Posted by Ilana Angel
Love is a great thing and I am blessed to have it in my life in many different forms. I love my son, parents, sisters, brother, nieces, nephews, and friends. I love them and am loved in returned which is special and something I do not take for granted. I have been thinking a lot about my future lately and that has me wondering about love. I am a person who tries to learn from yesterday, am thankful for today, and hopeful for tomorrow. Does that apply to love or is love exempt from the formula?
I am thankful for love every day. I think having lost my father I am aware that love can be taken away from you. I was able to tell my dad I loved him when he was dying, but he was so sick I’m not sure he understood how much. Life is fragile and love is elusive so if I love you I want you to know. I am not reserved when it comes to declaring love. I tell my son constantly, say it in daily conversations with my family and friends, and end conversation with these people by sayng I love you because saying it matters.
I am at a transitional point in my life in terms of my work and being a mother. My career is changing slightly, in wonderful ways, but still changing. My son is a junior in high school and starting to think about colleges and moving away from me. The thought of him leaving is terrifying and exciting, but I don’t think about it too much because I want to focus on him now, but also because I don’t allow myself to think that I might actually enjoy the phase of my life where he is away. Everything I do is with him in mind.
Does it make me a bad mother for thinking I will enjoy his being away at school and my being more independent? Will my love for him be defined differently if he is not here with me all the time? Yesterday, for the first time in over 17 years of motherhood I had a vision of my life with my son not living in my home and not only was it interesting, but I felt okay. As soon as I acknowledged to myself that I would be okay, I felt horrible and it made me cry. I can’t breathe at the thought of him going so why was it okay?
I define myself as a mother so I feel like a bad mother for having even a fleeting thought of my life as okay when he moves out. That got me to thinking about being hopeful for the future. When I think about the future I think of it in terms of my son’s dreams, not mine. I want to be thankful for every minute my son is home with me so that I have those memories to relive when he is away at school and building his own life. I want hope to embrace this time in my life my son.I want him to know his dreams are mine.
I want to allow myself to look forward to my own future, not just that of my child. Love is defined by yesterday, today, and tomorrow. All the experiences, lessons, mistakes, and joy come together to shape who we are, and in the end I am a great mother. I have done my job and while it has not been perfect or easy, it was been done well and my son is proof of that. I am allowed to fulfill my own dreams because they do not take away from his. I can plan a future because I have earned it and my son wants it for me.
When my son leaves for college I will sit in his room and cry. There is no getting around that. I will also plan a trip to the Maldives. I will sit on a beach and marvel at teh stellar job I did. I won’t feel guilty for not feeling guilty about it. Who am I kidding? I will feel guilty about sitting in luxury while my son plugs away at school, but a cocktail and my memories will make it better. I am a mother but also a woman and allowing myself to have the dreams of both is okay. I am planning my future, and keeping the faith.
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March 4, 2013 | 7:21 am
Posted by Ilana Angel
Today I drove a Dodge Ram truck for the first time. I am not sure what happened exactly, but when I got behind the wheel I changed into another person. The shear power of this machine changed everything. I suddenly felt invincible. I am not quite 5’4” and it was hard to even jump up to get into the truck, but when I did I felt like I was 6 feet tall. I instantly changed from a little Jewish girl from the valley into a badass broad. I am used to driving a little car, and while aggressive and not afraid to use my horn and flip the bird, I became fearless. I drove that truck like I owned the road and people needed to get out of my way.
I am always surprised when I see a woman driving a big truck because it is not a vehicle that suited women to me. When I see a woman go by in a truck I figure she likes country music, owns a pair of cowboy boots, knows how to line dance, and has a boyfriend called Bubba. I never thought I would ever want to drive a truck and to be honest they scared me bit because they are so big, but boy was I wrong. There is nothing sexier than a chick in a truck and I completely loved it. The strangest thing was that when I sat in the Dodge Ram I instantly felt proud and patriotic. There is something very American about driving a truck and I loved it.
As I drove, and was literally looking down on the little cars around me, people looked up and nodded hello. Men gave me a sexy and flirty smile and women looked longingly. It was hilarious. I was the Queen of the road. I never knew driving a big truck would be so great. Once I got the hang of it and understood how big and powerful the machine was, it was an easy drive. Cruising the streets on a Sunday afternoon in a Dodge Ram is heaven. I asked my Twitter followers if any of the women drove trucks and I was surprised to hear back from quite a few. One wrote that driving a truck made her feel touch and sexy and I couldn’t agree more.
I found out that one of my followers actually drives a FedEx truck, which is awesome. One woman wrote the first time she drove a truck was at age 10 with her Grandpa and she now owns that very same truck, which is amazing. Women wrote of feeling safer in a truck, loving being so high off the road, and digging how people admired them as they drove by. When I see women driving trucks now, I will admire them, envy them, and know they are tough, sexy, and strong. I am a short, Jewish, city girl and I love driving a truck. Not only do I love it, but I am really good at it. My driving skills transferred perfectly from a little car to a massive truck.
I am a few years away from turning 50 and I’ve been thinking about how I would mark the half-century milestone. I have now decided that perhaps a new truck would be the way to go. If you are a woman who has never driven a truck and want to channel your inner badass, then I suggest you get behind the wheel of a Dodge Ram and hit the streets. It is empowering, exciting, satisfying, and sexy as hell. I’m getting ready to go to work in my little car and it is a depressing. If I pass a woman in a truck today I will smile, feel a pang of jealousy, wave in support, then start counting the days until I turn fifty, think of the color I want, and keep the faith.
March 1, 2013 | 7:21 am
Posted by Ilana Angel
I am not a “Tiger Mom”. In fact, in reading the list of things tiger specialist and author Amy Chua says make her one, there is nothing tiger mom-ish about me. I am proudly a Jewish mother in many of the ways Jewish mothers are stereotyped with, but I am also a dictator mom. I discovered that this week when I was having a heated discussion with my teenager and in the span of five minutes said, “Because I said so” a dozen times. Oh dear.
We have been arguing about homework and it is stressful. I am a very hands on and hovering mother. I make no excuses for it, nor do I think it is a bad thing. I have a wonderful human being for a child and since I raised him on my own. I take credit for his being a responsible, kind, caring, smart, generous, funny, and sincere mensch. I love him and am proud of who he is and how he conducts himself. I am truly baffled by our arguing.
I don’t understand how it is that we are on such different pages when it comes to his homework. I won’t get into the details because I want to respect him and our relationship, so you will need to trust me when I tell you I am right on this one and he is wrong. Period. The fighting got me thinking about what kind of mother I am. I know a lot of mothers and I am more unlike them than like them, so what does that say about me?
My kid is number one in my house. There is nothing I would not do to make this kid’s life happy, healthy and whole. I am not perfect, but I am dedicated to him and very clear about how blessed I am to be his mother. I don’t take him for granted and don’t put anyone or anything ahead of him on my list of priorities. That is how I am as a mother. I get sad when I screw up with my kid because it feels like I’ve wasted time with him.
He will leave to college in a year and so I want his time with me to be great, not full of fighting and nagging. I clean his room for him because he will have his whole adult life to do that. I do his laundry, prepare his meals, and it is my pleasure. I will leave the nagging to his wife, but I imagine there won’t be too much of that because while I do these things for him, he has been taught to do them on his own and is good at it.
I am Jewish and so of course guilt is a tool I use when mothering, but there is a difference between trying to guilt your kid into something and shaming them into something and I don’t shame. Things my seventeen-year-old son deals with are nothing like what I dealt with when I was his age. In retrospect, my life was easy compared to his. I remember thinking life was hard and my parents were out of touch, but it is nothing like now.
Kids today are dealing with issues on a much larger scale than my generation ever did. My generation smoked pot and dropped acid while kids now can buy heroin at school. My generation worried about getting pregnant if they had sex, kids now have more sexually transmitted diseases than I can even list. I had an hour of homework every night and our kids have hours and hours of homework every single day. It is much different.
I don’t remember what my life was life before I had a baby, but I remember everything about my life as a mother from the second I found out I was pregnant and fainted, to the first time I felt him kick, to the second he was born, to the time he asked me to marry him, to his first day of school, to his Bar Mitzvah, to his first time taking the car on his own, and every single second in between. I love him completely and he knows it.
One would think that my home would be a democracy, but no. I am a dictator and what I say goes. My child thinks I am ridiculous, my Englishman thinks I am bossy, my mother laughs that I have become her. I want my son to be the best he can be and for me being the best means happiness. I don’t care what career path he chooses, as long as he is happy with it. I don’t care who he marries, as long as he is happy, and she is Jewish.
I use to have a swear jar in my home as I am known to cuss. A lot. I once wed my kid $100 in one week so that jar went away. Cussing is part of my vocabulary and so we deal wit it. We have a new jar however and a buck is going in every time I say, “Because I said so.” I don’t want to be a dictator; I just want homework to be done without fighting. I want to gently release my son to fly away, not have him fly the coop.
Being a mom is rewarding beyond compare, but it is also really, really hard. There is no right or wrong way; whatever you do to make your kids happy is the right way. If my son looks back at his childhood and remembers it as happy, then I have done my job. If one day his response to his own children is “Because I said so”, then I have done my job well. All I can do is pray I’m doing okay, try to stop being a dictator, and keep the faith.