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Jewish Journal

Motherhood 101: Boys to Men

by Ilana Angel

April 29, 2014 | 1:36 pm

When you see someone everyday, changes in appearance may not be obvious. My son is becoming a man before my eyes, but it has been gradual. I sometimes look at him and marvel at how tall he is, or stare when he doesn’t shave and has a beard, and laugh if I put his slippers on to throw out the trash and am reminded he has a size 13 foot.

I got a new cell phone this week and in doing so went though all my photos and saw pictures from years ago. My son looks like a completely different person. When I see him at his Bar Mitzvah I am stunned at how he has changed in just 5 years. At 13 he was the same height as me and had the face of a cherub. He now towers over me and is gorgeous.

His insanely curly hair is the same and his eyes are still a gorgeous translucent green, just like those of my beloved father. No matter how he changes, and regardless of how old he is, I will always look at him and see my baby. His laugh is the same now as it was when he was a kid and it is hard sometimes to understand how time has gone by so quickly.

My son recently went to a Dodgers game with his buddies from middle school. They went to different high schools so while they used to be inseparable, their time together now is special as it is rare. As they all prepare to go off to different colleges, they have been hanging out more and it is wonderful. I had not seen the other boys in a long time.

When they came to pick up my son for the game, came in to say hello, which was lovely. As I looked at these young men I was shocked into reality. These little kids were now men. They had beards, long hair, were all taller than me, and I had a complete disconnect as I flashed back to them as little boys. It made me look at my own son so differently.

I saw them as a before and after picture with four years in between. When they went to the game I found a picture of the four boys that I had taken on a trip to the beach 5 years earlier. To see their little boy faces looking into the camera as they all smiled, it was amazing to think they are now heading off to college so far away from home. Time flies.

Some days I feel like I just had a baby, yet I marvel at having raised a son for 18 years on my own. His leaving for college will mark the beginning of a new life for both of us. I am very proud of him and excited for myself too. It will be very hard, but this is what life is all about. I have worked hard to prepare him to go and now I can prepare myself.

While my son’s life will change in leaps and bounds, mine will be more of a stroll down memory lane before I am ready to leap and bound through the next step of my life. I will have to learn to do things on my own, and I am looking forward to it. By looking forward to it of course I mean I am not looking forward to it at all, but I am hopeful and keeping the faith.

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