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Jewish Journal

Motherhood 101: Graduating Class of 2014

by Ilana Angel

June 6, 2014 | 3:54 pm

Yesterday my son graduated high school. He ended his senior year with accolades, awards, honors, life long friends, and the respect of his teachers. He looked very handsome as he crossed the stage and though he is 18 and towers over me, when he got his diploma and turned to look at me, I saw the face of a young boy as happy as he was when he got his first bike. It was magical.

The day started with breakfast at his favorite spot. We had a great time chatting about nothing and everything. I then dropped him off to get a haircut and went to pick up his graduation cap. Why was I picking up a cap on the day of graduation? Because I left his cap in the shoe pouch of his tuxedo garment bag when I returned it after prom. It took 3 days, 16 calls, and overnight FedEx to get him another one. I’m a superstar.

My son left before I did and for the hour I was alone I cried. It wasn’t crying as much as it was heaving and convulsing with tears pouring down. I sat on the floor of my room with the cat staring at me like I was a crazy person. I cried for many reasons. Some happy, some sad, some logical, some ridiculous. It was pathetic but cathartic, and when I was done I picked myself up, prettied up, and went to graduation.

As I watched the ceremony I thought about many things. It was over 3 hours so there was time. My son is remarkable. He is a child of divorce, which is hard. He was 6 months old when I left his dad and has grown up without knowing what it was like to have his parents together. Even with no memory of us married, he would ask me to marry to his dad when he was little. He is a great kid but he has missed out on a lot.

I often wonder if he will ever understand how much I love him, or the sacrifices I made to give him the life he has. As I watched him cross the stage I prayed he would never understand because in order for my child to really know how hard it was, he would need to raise his child alone. I pray that will not happen. I want him to meet a wonderful woman and have a loving and happy marriage with peace and joy.

I have raised a wonderful person and as I send him off into adulthood, I am taking the credit. He is amazing and the truth is I raised him with God as my partner. It has been 18 years of daily prayer. I have raised a boy who will do amazing things with his life and I did it by myself. I know it, God knows it, my son knows it, and as his dad watched this terrific young man cross the stage into his future, he knew it too. 

It has been a rough couple of days. It is all very emotional and wonderful, yet someone tried to ruin this day for me and nearly succeeded. At the end of the day they failed. A dear friend often tells me, when speaking of someone being unkind, I win because I get to wake up everyday and live my life, while they have to wake up and live his. Amen. I am a single mother and I have raised a truly wonderful human being.

Mazel Tov to my son and all the graduates of the Class of 2014. I wish for you all that you wish for yourselves, plus more. May you have health, happiness, success, and joy. Not only in your chosen profession or area of study, but in life. I hope you find love and are free to love them fully. I hope you are kind and hopeful, even when others make it hard. Above all, I hope you always have the will and ability 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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