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Jewish Journal

Motherhood 101: Countdown to New Year’s Eve

by Ilana Angel

December 25, 2013 | 8:49 am

My son is with his dad for 10 days over his winter break and will not be back with me until New Year’s Eve. The first day he was gone I didn't get dressed or out of bed. I was overcome with sadness that I would not see him for so long. That got me to thinking about his leaving for university, and I was a mess. I cried for most of the day and pulled out all the boxes of pictures from his childhood and looked at every single photograph.

I am not going to ever apologize for how I love this child. He is a miracle to me. In giving him life, he changed my life. I have never loved anyone as much as this boy, and feel blessed to be his mother. I loved every second I was pregnant and when he was born I could feel my heart beat in a new way. I have raised him to be a good and decent man and after almost 18 years of being together, his leaving me is almost too much to comprehend.

I have raised him to go, but my focus has been in preparing him, not me. He is ready to soar into the next chapter but I am not sure how I will manage.  I am experiencing interesting feelings about this stage of his life. I gave him wings so he could fly away but I find myself thinking about breaking his wings, just a little, so he has to stay a tiny bit longer. I left home at 18 as will he, and I was fine. Not only was I fine, but I was ready. He is ready.

I have embraced this child’s dreams and encouraged him to follow his path and do what he wants with his life. I have wiped every tear, kissed every hurt, listened to every problem, embraced every dream, taught every lesson, and provided him with religion in a way that has allowed him to embrace our faith. It has been both fulfilling and exhausting, but more than anything, it has been joyful. Being a mother to this boy has been endless joy.

It is now only 5 days until he gets home and I am doing much better today. I have been hanging out with friends, seeing movies, organizing my closet, catching up on work, and getting a lot of sleep. It took me a couple of days to understand that I was on vacation and sitting around waiting for him to come home was lame. I am enjoying my first week of vacation and am thrilled that when he gets home I still have another week off with him.

I have spent 18 years raising this boy to be brave and strong and now I have 8 months to train myself to live my best life and embrace my blessings when he leaves for university. I suppose I will need to find a hobby, or perhaps a good man. Something to keep me busy and happy so I don’t spend my time stalking his Facebook, staring at his Instagram, and waiting for him to call. I am going to be fine and must be sure to not visit an animal shelter!

This is an exciting time for my boy and me. I have spent almost two decades being defined as this child’s mother and that will never change. When he goes to college I am still his mother. It is still how I will define myself. I am so proud of my son I could burst and I cannot wait to hear of his adventures. What a blessing it is for a mother to watch her child make his way into adulthood. With each dream he captures, all of mine come true.

I am off to see a movie, then have Chinese food with friends. I have a date tomorrow, and Shabbat with new friends on Friday. Time flies when you’re having fun and my delicious boy will be home before I know it. We will bring in the New Year together, then my son will turn 18 on January 18 and his golden year will begin. I am taking all of my fear and turning it into hope. I will always be his mother, and together we are keeping the faith.

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