Jewish Journal

A Single Mom, Summer Vacation, Crying, Irrational Behavior & Being Single

by Ilana Angel

June 30, 2011 | 8:59 am

I have been a single mother since my son was six months old.  My entire life is wrapped around this boy and my heart functions because of him.  I’m not kidding.  My decisions for myself are made with him in mind, and the choices I make put him and his needs first.  That’s just how I roll.

When you only have one child and no spouse, all your energy goes to taking care of that person.  Kids are the priority for all good mothers, but when it’s just you and him, it takes on a different feeling.  It’s not a big deal that all your eggs are in one basket, because you only have one basket.

In fifteen and a half years, I have never been away from my child for longer than 2 weeks, and today he his leaving for 31 days.  He is going on a summer adventure with his best friend, spending 4 weeks with him and his grandmother on a lake back east.  He is going to have a wonderful time.

He went with them last year, but only for 9 days.  He had such an amazing time that he has been planning for this summer trip since last summer.  It took him a year to convince me to let him go for longer, but even I am amazed I agreed to let him go for this long.  What was I thinking?

I’m sure there will be a lot of opinions on this next statement, but her it is.  I do not know how to live without him with me.  It sounds dramatic and ridiculous, even to me, but it is what it is.  Everything is about this child, and I’m not sure what I will do with myself for 4 weeks.

When you are with your child everyday, everything you do is about him. From grocery shopping, to work hours, to my social life, it is all touched by him. How do I shop for only one person?  Do I work later if I no longer need to go and pick him up from somewhere?  Can I date without worry?

It all makes me cry.  I cry at random times, for random reasons.  By random reasons of course I mean I cry for no particular reason at all.  I was folding his laundry and while I complain at the massive amounts of laundry this boy generates, I cried because I will miss doing it.

I am annoyed my child is unable to place clothes in a hamper.  Yet when I picked up his wet towel, after if was crumpled in the corner of his bathroom overnight, I cried and actually thought to myself, “I am going to miss picking up his wet and disgusting clothes.”  Really?

It is irrational behavior, but I can’t help myself.  He is going to have a great time, be well taken care of, will build memories of a lifetime, will call me and iChat to stay connected, but I am going to miss him, and at the moment am inconsolable that he is going for so long.

I would rather hang out with my kid than anyone else on the planet.  In a perfect world I could hang out with him and George Clooney at the same time, but if I could only pick one, it’s my kid. I enjoy his company and he makes me happy.  Even with teenage angst, I’d still rather be with him.

He’s almost 16, a texting machine, scares me every chance he gets, is messy, and generates an insane amount of laundry and dishes. I complain about one or more of those things on a regular basis, I will miss them.  What the hell am I going to do when he leaves for college?

He’s my only child and I don’t know what I will do with my time.  Everyone is telling me to have fun.  Go on dates, see my friends, take yoga, focus on myself, and embrace a freedom that I don’t normally have.  Easier said than done.  I’m will try certainly, but it will be hard.

I am going to focus on not sitting on the couch with a bottle of wine, searching the Internet for a cat that needs adopting.  If I can avoid that, it will be a victory.  If you read that I have adopted a cat, please call the authorities and have me committed.  There can be no new cat in my home!

I am going to miss my son while he is away.  I will control myself and not call and text him every second.  I will sit around wondering what to do with myself, and he will need to be reminded to call me and check in, but still, he will miss me.  He is going to spread his wings and so must I.

I am going to take yoga, head to Vegas for a few days, go to a party in Palm Springs, come and go whenever I like, walk around my home naked, and eat brussel sprouts.  All things I do not do when my boy is home.  I am going to date and have a clean home with no laundry.

It’s going to be an interesting time.  I am learning to let my child grow up, and in doing so growing up myself.  It will be a good experience for both of us and I need to remind myself of that.  Crying is not necessary.  Instead I must feel excited for me that I get a break.

I don’t really need a break, but I’m trying to talk myself into it.  It’s all rather pathetic.  It’s going to be a long day.  We are packing and getting organized.  I am going to make it all day without crying.  I vow to not shed a tear until he is on the plane and cannot see me.

I will come home and have a good cry. Tomorrow I will embrace my alone time.  Lord give me strength.  Being this child’s mother is my greatest joy and I don’t know what to do when he’s not here, but I will learn.  It is my college prep as I prep for him to go to college.

He’s a terrific kid and I am a great mother. This time will be an opportunity for me to see that is not the only thing I am.  I am going to embrace my single life.  My son is going to be fine, and so am I.  A single mom’s summer vacation requires wine, prayer, and keeping the faith.

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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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