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January 6, 2013

London Report Part 4: Coming Home

http://www.jewishjournal.com/blog/item/london_report_part_4_coming_home/

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It is over.  After 2 weeks in London, we made our way back to Los Angeles.  In some ways the trip felt like we gone over a weekend, and in others it felt like a lifetime.  Trips to visit family are more work than vacation, and while there was stress, pressure, and a few tears, it was a vacation I will always remember.

I went to London with a lot of expectations.  I wanted the Englishman's family to like me in a way that made them tell him he should never let me go because I am fabulous.  He is 53 years old and so his opinion matters most, but I guess my silliness comes from insecurity that I will lose what took me forever to find.

I thought we would go to London and have 14 days of romance driving through the countryside, walking through the city, wining and dining ourselves into memories that when gathered, create a life together.  In the end we spent our time living a real life, with a real family, and in doing so I saw a life that I really want.

My Englishman has a remarkable family.  They love deeply and in learning of their history, I saw things that match my own family.  There is love and respect, but also stress and complications.  In seeing the man I love trying to make everyone happy, I saw sides to him I do not see in our everyday lives. Sides that are interesting.

Everyone wanted a piece of him and he was trying to please us all.  His children, my son, his parents, his brothers, his nephews, and his girlfriend.  We were all vying for his attention and quite frankly, it made us all a little bit nutty.  On top of the tug-of-war, he had to deal with his oldest daughter becoming very sick during our visit. We spent 4 days at the hospital as she was treated for an infection and it was scary.  This man that we all love was forced to deal with a bunch of adults acting like children while taking care of his baby.  By bunch of course I include me.  In the end I discovered things about him I did not know and would never have guessed.

My Englishman is a very special man.  His loyalty to his family is solid, and his view of fatherhood and the two young women who call him dad is remarkable.  He loves them from a place in his heart that is reserved for a daddy's little girls.  His oldest daughter is 22 but when she became ill, she was his baby again. I sat in the hospital with this man as he looked after her and I thought of my own father.  I spent a long time in the hospital when I myself was 22, and seeing him with her brought memories of my own dad crashing back. How blessed she is to be loved by him as I was loved by my father.  Fathers like this are rare.

On any given day during our vacation someone was upset. There was lots of laughing, but also yelling and tears, some of it from me. I was in the middle of a family I did not know, felt I was finding my way more than I was being led, and it was stressful.  In the end I had many people to hold my hand through it.  I love these people.  His parents, brothers, sister-in-law, nephews, and daughters love him as I do, and in the end the stress does not matter.  I am not leaving with nothing other than memories of a life that is beginning.  In spending time with these people I have clarity on the life I want with my Englishman.

This man makes me laugh.  A real and authentic laugh that can only come from a place of joy.  He makes me mad in a way that comes from a place of fear. He makes me think in a way that comes from a place of calm.  He makes me dream in a way that comes from a place of hope. He is my life partner.  I was so worried about expectations that I almost missed out on the experiences that mattered most.  I spent 14 days with a family that embraced me enough to treat me as a member, not an outsider.  They became my family in a very real way that would not have happened had my unrealistic expectations been met.

I had so much fun stumbling through two weeks with this family that I feel like they are now my family.  I will call them and see them as I would my own family and that is the greatest gift I got this holiday season.  Important to note: the diamond and pearl necklace and earrings were also a very nice holiday gift.  The Englishman's daughter is feeling much better and she is going to be fine with some rest and relaxation.  She is a very special young woman and I love her.  Her sister sat on the plane next to me sad to go home, and my son smiled madly as the trip was a dream for him. How blessed we are to love these three children.

Family can bring out the best and the worst in each other.  I was treated as a member of the family and I feel honored. I survived the initiation and could not be happier.  Happy that my love took me to England and happy that in meeting his family, I saw who he really is because I saw where he came from. I love London and hope to live there one day with my Englishman. He is my friend, my teacher, my partner, my filter, and my love.  He makes me better, crazier, funnier, and wiser.  I am excited for the future and whatever it holds I know he will be there beside me, holding my hand, and keeping the faith.

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