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Jewish Journal

Happy Sweet 16

by Ilana Angel

January 18, 2012 | 12:43 pm

My son is turning 16 this week.  He is a remarkable human being and I am blessed and honored to be his mother.  To mark this most special of occasions, I want to share 16 things that I think he should know.

1.  Driving is a privilege and you must respect the power of being behind the wheel of a car.  When I freak out that you are driving by yourself, it is not because I do not trust you, but because I don’t trust everyone else.  Buckle up, put your phone away, look out for the other guy, don’t drive too fast, and remember to always call me when you get there.

2.  Be proud of our faith.  Embrace what you have been taught and be the best Jew you can be.  Never stop learning the history of our people, and build a relationship with God.  Pass down what you have learned to your own children, and make sure they too are close to God. Find a level of religion thai is comfortable for you, and know that faith can carry you through.

3.  Always respect women.  Open a door, walk on the street side of a sidewalk, remember important dates, bring flowers for no reason, say sorry and mean it, communicate in a loving way, and remember the power of silence.  Just because she does not say something, does not mean she doesn’t have something to say.

4.  Hampers were invented with men in mind.  Pick up your dirty clothes off the floor and put them in the hamper.  Don’t leave clean clothes on the floor as they will end up in the hamper, which is not where clean clothes go.

5.  It is not your job to take care of me.  You are my child and it is my greatest joy to take care of you.  You don’t need to worry about me. Enjoy your childhood, and be with your friends.  Know I am fine, and right here if you need me.

6.  Be brave.  When making choices for your future, and your happiness, be brave.

7.  When someone says come here, and by someone of course I mean your mother, just come.  Now.  By trying the, “in a second” method, or the popular, “I didn’t hear you” approach, all you are doing is making whatever she wanted to yell at you about worse.  Just come quickly and get it over with.  This information also applies when dealing with a girlfriend or wife.

8.  Sex is a beautiful thing and can only fully be appreciated and enjoyed when in your twenties.  Just kidding. Teenage parenthood is not an option.  I’m not kidding.

9.  You are my sunshine.  My only sunshine.  You make happy, when skies are gray.  You’ll never know dear, how much I love you.  Please don’t take my sunshine away.

10.  Drugs are bad.

11.  Reality television is like drugs.

12.  Go to bed every single day for the rest of your life knowing that I could not love you more.  Wake up every single day of the rest of your life knowing that I love you just a little bit more than the day before.

13.  Find your political voice.  Listen to candidates, and always vote for what is right for you and the country, not what your party tells you is right.  Your vote matters so don’t ever become a Republican.

14.  Remember what 16 feels like.  This is a great time in your life and you will not understand it until you are older.  Take time to let it all sink in because this moment will pass quickly.  Photograph it in your mind so you can look back when you are old and have it be something worth remembering.

15.  Find love. Find it with a Jew.

16.  As a child of divorce, know that you were born into a marriage filled with love.

To my wonderful son, Happy Birthday.  I have loved you for my entire life and the last 16 years have filled my heart with happiness and peace.  I wish for you all of the things you wish for yourself.  My greatest joy is watching you follow your heart, pursue your passions, and become a man I am both proud of, and in awe of.

I love you.

Happy Birthday.

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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