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Jewish Journal

Going Home Is Good For The Soul & Helps Prepare For An Empty Nest

by Ilana Angel

August 8, 2010 | 7:34 pm

I am writing my blog today from my mother’s home.  This is my first trip back to Canada in four years.  It was hard to come back after my father passed away, then I got busy with work, and planning my son’s Bar Mitzvah, so I just never got here.  I did not realize how much I rely on this place to nurture my soul, until I got home.

I arrived on Saturday morning, having taken the red eye.  I went straight from the airport to my mother’s house.  I had just seen her a few months ago when she came for two weeks to visit, but it was as if I had not seen her in years.  I burst into tears, put on my pajamas, climbed into bed with her, and spent the day snuggling.

After the day with my mom, my brother came to pick me up so we could go pick up my son who flew in Saturday night from Michigan.  He had been with friends for two weeks at the lake, having the time of his life.  As I stood in the terminal waiting for my baby to come through the doors, I was overwhelmed with emotion and started to cry.

If I was this emotional to see my kid after two weeks, what must it be like for my mother, who goes months without seeing me?  Coming home allows me to view my life in a different way.  I am able to look at my mother and feel a love for her that I did not understand or appreciate when I was young.  I find it both comforting and frightening.

What will I do when my son leaves to go to university to start his life as an independent young man?  I can barely stand sending him to school every day because I will miss him, so how will I manage when he heads off to NYU, which is his dream?  I imagine one thing that will make it easier, will be to spend more time with my own mother.

I spent today at the lake with my brother, his kids, his wife, and her family.  We laughed a lot, and had a relaxing day of boating, and playing.  My nephew, who is six, kept calling out “Dad’ and “Daddy” and I had to look around to see who he was talking to.  It was very odd that my little brother was being called dad, because to me he’s still a baby.

If I look at my forty year old little brother, and feel nostalgic for when he was a baby and I pretended he was my doll, then what must it be like for my mother when she sees him?  Life goes by so fast.  I tucked my baby into bed one night, and when I woke up he was taller than me, and flying across the country by himself for a summer holiday.

I love my son.  He brings me more joy than I ever thought I could have, or even deserved.  The thought of him growing up and going away fills my heart with profound pride.  It’s through the eyes of mother looking at me, that I find the strength to let him go.  Home has filled my soul, and rejuvenated me.  I arrived here tired, and after one day am well rested.

Being a mother is a tricky job.  There are moments when you are so full of love you think you might explode, and others when you seriously want to scream and pull all your hair out.  I am blessed to be able to come home, and have clarity on all of it.  I am a wonderful mother because my own wonderful mother never forgot to keep 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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