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Jewish Journal

A Baby Grows Up and A Mother Stops Sleeping – The Teenage Years

by Ilana Angel

June 30, 2010 | 9:01 am

This summer, in only a few weeks actually, I am going to do something for the first time.  I am going to let my child, my wonderful baby, and the one great love of my life, fly across the country by himself.  To say I am nervous and anxious is an understatement.

I know he is closer to 15 than 14, I know he is responsible, I know he is 5’ 9”, I know he can take care of himself, I know I trust him, I know he will be fine, I know I have nothing to worry about, and I know I have not slept since the ticket was purchased.

Kids travel alone all the time.  It’s not that big a deal, but when your kid does it for the first time, it’s stressful.  He insists that he not travel as an unaccompanied minor, and will be fine on his own.  I can walk him to his gate, he will be met at his gate when he arrives.

The issue is that he has a connection, and will need to get from one flight to the other, all on his own.  It’s not like he will be in a foreign land, and unable to speak the language.  He can read, is smart, and he will be fine.  It’s all me, not him.  I am having a hard time with it.

I can remember when he walked for the first time.  I would follow him around so incase he took a tumble, I would be close enough to catch him.  He would wobble, I would grab him before he fell, and he would look at me with such love and trust for being there, before he hurt himself.

I remember when he started school, and he wanted to walk in on his own.  I would drop him off, and then park my car and watch him walk in.  He would wave all the way to the very last moment, knowing I was watching, and wanting to make is easier for me.

I remember the first time he went to the movies with his friends, with no parent along to chaperone.  He was so excited to be independent, yet he slipped away from his friends to call and let me know he was safely in the theater, and I did not need to worry. 

I know when he goes off to college, I will look back at the first time he flew alone, and wonder how I survived.  I’m waiting for it to get easier, but it doesn’t.  Will there ever be a time, no matter how old he gets, that I will not worry, and want to do everything for him?

When our kids are babies, we can’t wait for them to walk, then wish they would stay still.  We can’t wait for them to talk, then pray they will be quiet.  We can’t wait for them to drive, so they can run to the market, then wish they never got behind the wheel.

I love each milestone that my son reaches as he grows up.  I love him more today, than I did yesterday, and I will love him more tomorrow. than I do today.  Not only do I love him, but I really like him.  He is a truly remarkable human being.

He has changed my worldview, made me a better person, and is going to impact the world in a profound way.  Whether he is a garbage collector, a teacher, an actor or the President of the United States of America, he will make a difference.

I love him, and am so proud to be his mom.  I am excited that he is getting to spend a couple of weeks away, with his best friend and his family.  I know my son, and he knows me, so I won’t need to worry because he will be in touch.  More often than needed, but the right amount for me.

I look forward to this new stage of his life.  I am excited by each new step he takes, and discover he makes.  I will support him in all the ways possible.  As the high school years begin, and he takes leaps forward,  I’ll be right here, kvelling, and keeping the faith.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Ilana Angel writes two blogs for JewishJournal.com. KEEPING THE FAITH is about her worldview as a single Jewish mother, and KEEPING IT REAL is all about reality television....

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