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Jewish Journal

Valentine’s Day, Teenagers, Co-Parenting & a New Sheriff

by Ilana Angel

February 19, 2013 | 10:51 am

I had a lovely Valentine’s Day.  The Englishman and I spent the evening with the kids and had a wonderful dinner.  I got the most wonderful cards, flowers, chocolate, and gifts.  I love Valentine’s Day and to share it with the people I love was very special.  I know it is full of commercial gimmicks and there is an element of forcing love, but I don’t care.  I love the day and like to celebrate it.  This year I even celebrated it twice.

On the weekend the Englishman and I celebrated on our own.  I have really fabulous Twitter followers and asked them what they thought would be a good gift for our first Valentine’s Day together.  I decided on a couples massage and at their suggestion, opted to have it at the house rather than a spa.  I have never done a house call for massage and was nervous about what to expect and what the Englishman would think.

I had the Englishman wait in the bedroom while the ladies set up in the living room.  They moved the furniture, set up tables, lit candles, put on music, scattered rose petals, poured us a drink, and it was fabulous.  The massage was perfect and the entire experience was wonderful. The massage therapists were funny, kind, talented, and professional.  The best part was that when it was done, we didn’t need to go anywhere.

It was a wonderful experience and I’m so glad I got to share it with my love.  I wouldn’t have thought to do it on my own and I thank all my friends on Twitter who made the suggestion.  I got a lot of good ideas and now have a list of special things that I look forward to sharing with my Englishman.  He is a remarkable man and I am blessed to have him as not only my boyfriend, but my best friend.  I am a very lucky girl.

One of the best things about my Englishman is how he is as a father.  He is very close with his daughters and I admire him and the role he plays in their lives.  I have been raising my son on my own and even when I was in relationships, I was with men who had no experience being a parent, so even though I had a partner, I was still on my own.  With this relationship I get the benefits of a seasoned professional to help me.

Raising a baby is a piece of cake compared to raising a teenager.  I have a very close relationship with my son, but as he gets older and prepares to start his adult life, rather than let him spread his wings, I am holding on tighter.  I can’t quite wrap my head around the fact that he is 17 years old and next year he will be on his own, away at school.  That denial is causing some friction and it makes me stressed and sad.

The Englishman is teaching me to give my son a little more rope and in giving him more freedom, I am actually freeing myself.  I am learning that in taking care of myself, I am allowing my baby to grow up and take care of himself. It has been hard and I struggle with it on a daily basis, but I am trying and can see the benefits of this new strategy.  Loving this man makes me better, makes me happy, and has changed who I am as a mother.

The Englishman and are both divorced and while he has daughters and me a son, our parenting is as different as it is the same.  We are both hands on parents with open communication with the kids, but he is much calmer than I am.  I am learning how to be calm and while there have been epic failures, I am trying so my son appreciates the effort.  In the end both my son and I love and trust this man, which has been my dream.

I have never co-parented my son with his father.  We don’t have a relationship, our exchanges are only about our child, and are usually heated. We cannot get to a good place and it is a shame.  In the Englishman I have found a partner whose opinion I value and trust.  I trust this man with not only my heart, but with my child’s heart.  We both love him, and his children, and he is now the go to man in our home.

I call my Englishman on a daily basis to run things by him.  If my son wants something from me, he will occasionally call the Englishman to get back up.  Additionally, if he asks for something and does not like my answer, he tells me to call the Englishman to make sure he is happy with my answer.  It is all rather entertaining.  By entertaining of course I mean it is both comforting and annoying.  There is a new Sheriff in town.

I am opinionated and independent, but when it comes to my relationship, I like my man to take the lead.  We don’t live together, but he is the man of the house and I like that.  For the first time in my life as a mother I have real back up and it is fabulous.  As a single mother the scariest part of dating is introducing who you date to your children.  You never know if it will be a fit, and in the end your children decide.

My son is perfect, 17 years old, has his own car, a busy social life, a heavy workload at school, pressure of college approaching, girls, friendships, self image, and work to worry about.  I am a terrific mom and I am proud of the man I have raised, but having a partner is a real blessing. Raising a good man is easier when you are dating a good man.  Knowing and loving these two men is an honor and inspires me 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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