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Jewish Journal

Mother, Son, Dating & a Dancing Queen at the Bus

by Ilana Angel

April 23, 2013 | 9:47 am

When my son was thirteen he came to me and announced he was going to leave home for college and attend in another city.  He respectfully and adorably informed me I had four years to “find a man to replace him”.  If I was not in a relationship when he was off to college, he would go to a local school.  He refused to leave me alone, which I thought was lovely.

I remember the conversation very clearly.  It was during the week leading up to his Bar Mitzvah.  He was becoming a man and felt the need to let me know he was going to take care of me.  It was a moment that forever altered the course of our lives.  I remember feeling incredibly proud of him for being such a mensch, and instantly panicked that he was such a mensch.

I had raised him on my own and was waiting for a sign I was doing a good job. When he was willing to put aside his dreams to make sure I was not alone, I knew I raised a wonderful human being.  I also knew that I needed to start dating immediately. I did not have a lot of time, and dated as if my life depended on it. Thus began the journey that is "Keeping the Faith".

I have had two meaningful relationships in the four years since his Bar Mitzvah. One was important, and one was forever.  I thought it was forever. The important one allowed me to open my heart to love.  It helped define my life as a Jew and taught me that beyond being a mother, I could be a woman. The second one was Beshert. Even though it ended, it is forever.

My last relationship ended badly, but there are silver linings to be found in life.  You may not be able to see my broken heart, but my ass looks fabulous. I have lost weight, and since food is unappealing, I’m taking vitamins so my hair and nails are fabulous.  My relationship may have ended, but I am going to love this man forever, and fighting that fact has made me crazy.

I am so focused on being angry and bitter, that I am not allowing myself to be fabulous.  I suffer of course because time is being wasted, but the real suffering is by my son.  I love this child and he is my whole life, so it has been heartbreaking to have see me be so sad.  The most crushing thing as a mother is to have her child see her cry and that she is in pain.

Last night my son held my hand while I cried.  It is not his job to comfort me, and it is a crippling feeling to have put my baby in the position of feeling he needs to look after me.  This morning however, I woke thinking about our conversation at his Bar Mitzvah, and he has always taken care of me.  We are a team, support each other, and share a truly great love.

My son’s dream is to go away to college and he has a very specific focus of study.  Pursuing his dreams will require leaving Los Angeles.  He knows it, I know it, and we both want it.  Last night however, as I cried, he reminded me that he will not leave me.  It was so lovely and sweet that I was overcome with guilt because he is not getting the best of me right now.

I have been sad, combative, quiet, and distracted.  I have allowed my life to impact his in a stressful way, when my goal has always been to make his life better.  It has to stop.  I must pick myself up, dust myself off, admire my fabulous ass, and get on with it.  I am not going to let anyone make my son worry, especially me.  It is time for changes to be made.

I have allowed my life as a woman to overpower my life as a mother and it is not cool.  To my remarkable son, I love you honey.  You are a wonderful person and an amazing man.  I am proud to be your mother and proud to call you my friend.  You make me a better person and I want to thank you for taking such great care of your Momma.  I am ok, and we are okay.

You are going to go away to college and my greatest joy in life will be in watching your dreams come true.  You are going to change the world and I can’t wait to see it happen.   Nothing is going to keep you from your dreams, and the good news is that it turns out I actually had five years to find love because you have another year until you leave for college.

The reality is that I don’t need to find love, because I have love.  I don’t need a man to complete me, because being a mother is what completes me. If I find love in the next year it will be wonderful, as I would like to share my life with someone.  If I don’t that will be okay too because my life is blessed, and exciting things are on the horizon for my future.

I am going to start over and go into the hell that is online dating with realistic expectations about the process.  I am certain I will kiss some frogs, meet some freaks, encounter a convicted felon or two, meet men who lie about their height, are too old to remember their age, and always be one cat away from not having a shot in hell of meeting a good man.

I will date with hope, not desperation.  I will focus on peace, not anger.  I will strive for forgiveness, not linger in bitterness.  I will be a great mother and a strong woman.  I will do it all, because I have it all.  Yesterday someone posted this video on Facebook and I have watched it at least a dozen times. This woman makes me so happy I can hardly stand it.

I think she is just wonderful and I wish I could tell her this video has made me happy.  I watch it, dance along with her, and feel pure joy.  I want to thank her for reminding me that sometimes you just have to dance.  Tonight I am going to make my son’s favorite dinner and when he gets home, we are going to dance around, laugh, and 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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