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Jewish Journal

The Single Mother and The Englishman

by Ilana Angel

October 17, 2012 | 7:57 pm

A friend of mine lost his mother last week.  I went to sit Shiva and was truly touched by the loss.  I cried for the pain I felt for my friend, and also for the loss of my own father.  Losing a parent is crushing.  My father has been gone for over 10 years and I still find myself calling him on occasion. When I hear the recording telling me his number is no longer in service, it still takes me a minute to understand.  I miss him so much.

My father died from cancer, and while it was devastating to watch him suffer, the blessing was I got to spend time with him, knowing he was dying, and being able to leave no words unspoken.  My father passed way with a true understanding of how much I loved him, respected him, and thought he was a wonderful human being.  I miss him every single day and am blessed to see glimpses of him in both myself, and my son.

Ever since I became a mother I have had an irrational fear of death.  I cannot bear the thought of leaving my child.  I want to see the dreams he has for himself come true, as well as the dreams I have for him.  I want to give him a standing ovation when he graduates from high school, kvell when he gets into his dream college, dance at his wedding, babysit his children, and grow old while I watch him grow old.

One of my irrational single mother fears is that my son will not ever understand how much I love him.  By irrational, of course I mean I feel it in my heart, even though my mind knows it is silly. Should anything happen to me, there will be nobody to tell him.  My family will help him know how much I love him of course, but they live far away and don't see our life up close.  There has not been a real witness to my life as a mother as it has simply been him and me. 

I have had a stressful week with work, family, relationships, and motherhood.  Work is busy and there are not enough hours in the day.  My family is far away and I am feeling the void that distance brings.  My Englishman is a wonderful boyfriend, terrific father, and business owner, so with our busy and full lives, our time together is limited with both of us having teenagers at home.  I want to be with him more, and I miss him.

My son is almost 17 and I can honestly say he has been a true pleasure to raise.  There are challenges to be sure, but I am very lucky because he is a hard worker, with a strong moral compass, and a kind heart. He loves me in a profound way and we have a strong connection.  He is dealing with an insane amount of homework, and trying to figure out what he wants to do with his life.  Those pressures, along with regular teenage angst, are causing tension.

I found myself crying today for so many reasons.  I have a spider bite on my right eye, which has caused it to swell shut.  I yelled at my son over homework.  It was my sister’s birthday and I was not there to hug her.  My mother told me she misses my dad so much she can’t breathe. I was so tired last night that I stayed home instead of going to see the Englishman on one of the rare nights my son was sleeping out.  It all came crashing down and I cried like a baby.

I am clearly wallowing in a bit of self-pity, which I think is perfectly fine and totally allowed on occasion.  Sometimes life becomes overwhelming and you need to break down in order to build yourself up.  My Englishman called whlle I was crying and I shared all my concerns with him through sobs.  He listened, let me go on and on, then spoke to me in a kind and gentle tone, in his divine English accent, with words that dried my tears and brought me peace.

He told me I was a brilliant mother.  He shared that in the time we have known each other, he has seen how I love my son and that while nothing is going to happen to me, I can rest assured that he will make sure my son understands how much I love him, and what being his mother has meant to me. He said he admired me as a woman and a mom.  The Englishman is my boyfriend, friend, father, lawyer, therapist, lover, teacher, nurse, Rabbi, and financial advisor. 

He is the man of my dreams and has become a witness to my life. Relationships are hard.  Not only relationships we have with each other, but the relationship we have with ourselves.  I am very critical of me, and don’t cut myself a lot of slack.  It is a blessing the Englishman can share how he sees me.  At the end of the day I must remember that if God leads me to it, he will lead me through it. I am not going anywhere, so I need to relax, and continue 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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