September 25, 2018

Motherhood 101: Kvelling

My son told me he wanted to be an actor when he was four years old. He is now twenty-two and in the past eighteen years he has never wavered. Not one time. He has been focused on his goals and worked hard. There has been success and failure. There has been joy and disappointment. There has however, never been doubt. Being an actor is all he ever wanted to be.

 

It has been challenging as a mother to watch my child pursue a career in the entertainment industry. The highs are high and the lows are low. My son sees each booking and each rejection as a lesson. He’s stayed on his path with a slow and steady stride. I’ve thought his life could be easier if he made a different career choice, but I’ve never discouraged him from chasing his dreams.

 

He works hard and supports himself. He is motivated, dedicated, driven, and ridiculously talented. This week he accomplished two things he’s been working on for a very long time. He submitted a film he produced and co-stars in to the Sundance Film Festival. He also took a giant step forward as a comedy performer. Both accomplishments leave me keeling. I am very proud of my son.

 

He is a wonderful actor and can make me laugh like nobody else on the planet. The kid is not only funny, but has perfect comedic timing. He is kind and sweet, handsome and charming. He speaks of his successes not in money or praise, but in how he wants to take care of me. It is lovely and makes me proud of not only him, but myself. We are very close and I appreciate our relationship.

 

He’s been working hard to get to where he is and we’re celebrating and going on holiday. We leave Wednesday night after Yom Kipper for our favorite city of London. We will also visit Scotland for the first time, and I cannot wait. He is my favorite person and I treasure time with him. It is an exciting time in his life and having a front row seat is a blessing that comes from keeping the faith.

 

 

Happy New Year

I am sitting on the couch, listening to my son coughing and blowing his nose. He has a horrible cold and the poor kid is suffering. He called me yesterday and said he was feeling worse than the day before, and needed to come home. I jumped into action and made a pot of matzo ball soup. He has been here for 24 hours of eating, sleeping, coughing, and blowing his nose. I am of course sad he is sick, but I am happy he is home. It feels great to take care of him.

 

He will always be my baby and I am not ashamed to tell you I sat in his room this afternoon for 15 minutes and watched him sleep. I stared at this remarkable young man, proud of who he is, excited about who he will become, and grateful to be his mom. It warms my heart that when he got sick he immediately wanted to come home. I have made the soup, spinach and mushroom kugel, apple and honey kugel, brisket, and potatoes. (The food is a bribe for him to stay longer.)

 

I love him so much it aches that he doesn’t live with me anymore. I miss him and so while having him here is heaven, when he leaves again the silence will be deafening. We raise our kids to be productive adults, but don’t think about the fact that when it happens, they leave home. Damn it! I worked 22 years to reach this stage of life, but it is hard. I miss him. Every Rosh Hashanah I say I’m going to be brave and embrace the stage of life I’m in, but this stage is hard.

 

With each year I make resolutions and while I honestly try to make change each year, this year feels different. This is going to be a great year. My son has produced a movie that will be coming out soon. I have been dating without expectations and with a sense of humor. I’m taking care of my body and soul. I am connecting to God, embracing faith, and mastering the art of the perfect martini. Life is good and I am blessed my son lives close and still comes home.

 

I always write people need to be brave and not only follow their hearts, but not settle for the things they get because they believe they are what they deserve. It is my turn to believe and embrace my own advice. I am going into the year knowing I deserve it all. I’m going to write more, eat less, pray more, and cry less. I’m going to find my bashert. He will be strong enough to not only let me be me, but strong enough to be himself. It will be a great year for us all. #impeachment

 

I wish you all a happy and healthy new year. I hope your challenges are few, but should you hit a bump, know I am here cheering you on. Be brave. This is your life and only you can live it. Do what makes sense to you, and what feels good to you. Have some fun. Have more sex. Have really good sex. Laugh. Often and out loud. Resist. Take a knee. Make a difference. Inspire change. Speak out. Go out. Everything and anything is possible if you believe, so keep the faith.

Motherhood 101 – Travelling

My son Charlie is wrapping up a 17-day vacation in Japan. He is with one of his best friends, and they are traveling around the country not only seeing the sights, by experiencing the culture and meeting the people of Japan. They have encountered nothing but kindness and generosity. I am impressed with the beauty of not only the country, but her people. Thank you to this enchanting place and her residents for taking such great care of my son.

Charlie has taken me with him on his trip, which has been simply thrilling. Thanks to modern technology I have walked through the bamboo forest, seen a sumo wrestling match, watched a blue fin tuna auction, fed monkeys and deer, and lit a wishing stick in a Buddhist temple. I have been on a bullet train and strolled in the rain through busy and exciting streets. I believe seeing the world is important and am so happy my son is able to have these experiences. It really expands your world view to actually see the world in person.

Sidebar: Important to note that while I’m sure I sound like a supportive and loving mother when it comes to Charlie traveling, in the interest of full disclosure, you should know I am actually a crazy person. I track the movement of his flights and train rides, I ask him to text me when he is in for the night, and I have asked him 422 times if he has his epi pen with him.  Each time he goes away I relax a little bit more, but I am a Jewish mother through and through and the truth is there will ever never be a trip where I don’t worry and that will be not only with Charlie, but with his wife and kids too when come along. Luckily he takes it all in stride, humors me, and includes me in ways I haven’t even demanded. I am thankful he is such a good boy, and grateful for vodka.

I am sending best wishes to the people in Japan who are dealing with the heavy rains and flooding. I hope you stay safe. To my Charlie, enjoy the last few days of your wonderful trip. Be safe, have fun, eat strange things, be kind, take pictures, and be aware of how blessed you are to see the world. I am so thankful you have included me on your adventure. I really enjoyed Japan and can’t wait to see Scotland with you this fall. Travelling is a wonderful reminder to keep the faith.

 

 

Blogging 101 – Happy Anniversary

I wrote my very first blog for the Jewish Journal on July 9th, 2009. It is hard to believe I have been sharing my life here for nine years. When I started my son had just had his Bar Mitzvah, which was the catalyst that got this blog started. Charlie becoming a man changed how he viewed me, and how he viewed our life together. He turned 13 and immediately became concerned with taking care of me. I had been a single parent since he was a baby, and he felt his Bar Mitzvah marked a change in our relationship. He was going to be the man in my life.

He was very vocal about being worried about my being alone. At 13 he was looking ahead to a day he would be grown up and moving out, and he didn’t want me to be alone. He had a well thought out conversation with me, explaining that I needed to find a good man. He had clear ideas about what type of man it should be, and did not hesitate to share his opinions with me. It was sweet and kind and lovely. It was also daunting, intimidating, and stressful. There was now a clock ticking for me to find love and so I started to not only date, but blog all about it. I never could have known it would last this long, and am surprised it has.

There were good dates, bad dates, and nightmare dates. There was hope, love, and heartache. I have learned a lot about myself during the life of this blog. I became a better mother, a more grounded Jew, and an increasingly vocal liberal. By sharing my opinions about things, and inviting people into my life with Charlie, I discovered I was a great mother, and a decent and kind human being. I am a survivor of many things and have written with bravery and freedom. There is nothing about my life I have not shared here, and that is both empowering and scary.

I have often referred to this blog as a love letter to my son, and it really is. I have written with sometimes painful honesty about my life. I have no regrets about anything I have shared and am blessed beyond measure to have had people share their stories in return. I have built a family here of people who have become my teachers, friends, advocates, protectors, and cheerleaders. I have received real love and unbelievable hate. At the end of the day the good always outweighed the bad, and I know how lucky I am to have this platform.

Thank you to the Jewish Journal. They have encouraged me to share without fear. Rob Eshman is my hero and I will forever be grateful to him for bringing me on board. David Suissa is my celebrity crush and inspires me to write. My writing brings David headaches with demands to fire me. Important to note that every time I say Trump has dementia and his supporters are morons, there is a call to fire me, which only makes me want to mention Trump is a loser and his inbred supporters are garbage every time I write, even if the blog is not at all about Trump.

As I begin my 10th year with the Jewish Journal I am hopeful that this will be my last year. I have said I would write this blog until I found real love and got married again. I honestly thought that day would have come long before now, and thought I was close a couple of times, but here I am. Charlie is now 22 and currently on vacation in Japan. He calls me every day, and video chats me from places he thinks I would like to see. Yesterday we looked in amazement at the bamboo forest, walked along the flooded river, and fed monkeys and deer. I am truly blessed.

Thank you to my son, who is the love of my life and the most incredible person I know. Thank you for letting me write this blog and share our lives Charlie. You are an amazing young man and I am proud of you. Keeping the Faith is for you. I love you. To my readers, there are no words to properly express my thanks to you. You have held my hand for nine years and I am grateful for all of you. You make me laugh, wipe my tears, and embrace my voice. Thank you for reading and thank you for reminding me to count my blessing while keeping the faith.

 

Happy Father’s Day

I have been a single mom since my son was a baby. I was divorced before he turned one and while his father lives close by and has a relationship with our son, I raised this boy with no financial, emotional, spiritual, or physical support. My son is a wonderful human being because even though he has a dad, I have been his mother and father. Being a single parent is a remarkable job for remarkable people.

I taught my son to ride a bike, took him on his first fishing trip, passed on my faith, comforted him through loss, explained sex, taught him to respect women and himself. I encouraged him to follow his dreams and that no dream was impossible. He was raised to help those less fortunate and embrace everyone, regardless of the color of their skin, the name of their God, or who they love. He is a good man.

Being a single parent is as difficult as it is rewarding. I raised my son in a city where I had no family, so I created one. I leaned on my friends, temple, Rabbi, teachers, parents of his friends, and employers to help raise this remarkable human. I did not and could not lean on his dad. In looking back at my life as a single parent, I am proud of myself, wish it had been different, and am grateful for our life together.

When my son was one, my father sent me flowers for Father’s Day. He told me he was proud of me and said I was a great mom and a wonderful dad. It meant a lot to me that the man I loved and respected more than any other man in the world acknowledged I was doing everything and being everyone for my son. I raised a boy to be a man on my own so Father’s Day is interesting for me.

Life as a single parent is full of blessings. There is an us against the world connection. As single parents we cry harder, laugh deeper, worry more, and pray longer because we are alone. Life is loud because it is just you listening, and life is silent because you are by yourself. It is a life of sacrifices and rewards. I am a strong and proud single parent because the title makes me a super hero.

This morning my son made me breakfast and bought me flowers for Father’s Day, then he went to spend the day with his dad. He always makes this day special for me and I appreciate it. It makes my heart swell that he understands the roles I have played in his life and honors me, I am wishing a Happy Father’s Day to all fathers, and to all the mothers who are sometimes father’s too. Enjoy this day.

Happy Father’s Day those who have lost their dads and wish they were still here. Happy Father’s Day to sons of single mothers who are the men in their mom’s lives, and to the moms who are everything for their kids. Happy Father’s Day to men who are going to become dads for the first time, and dads who are raising their kids alone. Do right by your kids and respect the women who made you fathers.

To my own beloved father, Bob Angel, I love you and miss you every day. I want to call you and tell you what is going on and have you guide me. I will never be too old to need you, and I will never stop missing you. Your children love you and your grandchildren are perfect pieces of you, carrying on your legacy and keeping you alive. We love you Dad, and we know you are watching, so we are keeping the faith.

 

Happy Mother’s Day

When I woke up this morning I went into my son’s old room, crawled into his old bed, snuggled up with his old cat, and let my old body go back to sleep. It was fantastic! This is the first Mother’s Day in 22 years I didn’t wake up and see the face of my delicious boy. He has his own apartment now, but will be here any minute. We are spending the day together and I cannot wait.

He is taking me out for lunch at the beach, followed by some painting at Color Me Mine (our Mother’s Day tradition), then we are heading to the LAFC game. He has it all planned out and I am excited for every minute we will be together. I love my kid. I have raised him on my own and it has been the most challenging and rewarding experience of my life. He is a wonderful human being and my absolute favorite person.

I have learned to love my empty nest, but look forward to his coming home. I am blessed that he comes home often, usually with laundry, but that is cool. We are very good friends, always have been, but have managed to keep a respectful line drawn in the sand that maintains my role as his mother. I am a very lucky girl, but also an awesome mom. Yay for me! Yay for moms on our day!

To all the mothers, enjoy this day! Be kind to yourself. We can be tough on ourselves, and are our own worst critics, but we must take time today to be proud. Proud of not only our children, but of ourselves. Being a mother is hard. Being a single mother is tough. Being a Jewish mother is exhausting. We are remarkable. Happy Mother’s Day! Be safe, enjoy your kids, and keep the faith.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dating 101: Highs & Lows

I had a date with a man I found to be physically and mentally attractive. He is a lovely man who is 51, never married, and has no kids. He’s worked at the same company for 30 years and is dedicated to his job. He is fiercely loyal to his friends, and has a great sense of humor. I liked him very much on the phone, and we spoke for a week before schedules allowed us to meet. When we finally managed to find a night to go out, we decided on dinner and a movie.

We met at the restaurant and I was pleasantly surprised to see he looked just like his pictures. He said he was 5’11”, I’m guessing he was closer to 5’9”, but since I’m only 5’3”, it wasn’t a big deal. We ordered a couple drinks and settled into easy conversation. We had a great time over dinner and then went into the movie. We held hands, which felt wonderful. I had taken an Uber so I could have a drink, and he offered to take me home, which I felt surprisingly comfortable with.

We left the theater and walked towards his car. We laughed together, had a kiss, and it was nice. It was a regular date, with a regular guy, and I was feeling good about it. He is not Jewish, but I am trying to think outside the dating box I have built for myself, because I’m not having luck dating within the parameters I have drawn around myself. It is scary to try new things, but I am trying, and that is what matters. One good date can change everything.

So we are strolling to the car, I’m thinking we will make out a little bit, and feeling good about the whole night. Then we got to his car and it was over. I am not a materialistic person, and I don’t care about what a man does for a living or what kind of car he has, but I simply cannot date a man who drives a purple El Camino with hydraulics. If that makes me shallow and judgmental, when then I will receive that and try to better myself, but I cannot get on board with that car.

We spoke about the car, the car groups he belongs to, the amount of car shows he goes to a year, the friends he is close to through his car club, and how his social life is woven into the car. No. I am not spending my weekends at car shows. I am also not putting my new bionic neck into a hydraulic car parade. I appreciate that this paints me in an unflattering light, but after almost a decade of sharing my life here, I am not going to start leaving stuff out just to save face.

Bumps in the road make me think I should stick to Jewish men, or just get another cat, but I need to be brave and not let this be a setback. I’m embarrassed the car was a deal breaker, but in the end it wasn’t the car as much as the lifestyle that came with it. I know who I am and what I want, so at this point in my life I need to stay true to me. One hopes each first date gets you closer to your last first date, so I am hoping and keeping the faith.

Cocktails and Motherhood

When my son turned 21 we went out for a drink. It was strange to have a cocktail with him and it didn’t feel as cool as I thought it would. I watched him drink a beer and all I could see was a baby drinking. It actually made me a little sad. When you have a drink with your kid you are forced to see them as a grown up, which is bittersweet. It was uncomfortable to drink with him, but at the same time I was proud my delicious baby was now a remarkable man. I am blessed to be this human’s mother and I thank God for every single moment we have together, but drinking with him was a hard pill to swallow.

I turned 52 last week and went to San Francisco for the weekend with my son. We walked, ate great food, and had a few drinks. I love a cocktail, as my readers know, and since it was my birthday, I enjoyed several libations. I started with a drink at the airport and ended with a drink at the airport. My son drank too, but it was different this time. He was still my baby, but also my friend, and it was lovely. He isn’t a big drinker, but enjoys big boy drinks. His cocktails of choice are a Negroni or a Whiskey Sour. I think they taste like cough medicine.

We sat in great bars and talked about life, love, politics, and plans. We laughed and debated, and were also happily quiet together. I love him very much and he is simply my favorite human being. He makes me happy. He makes me think. He makes me grateful. He makes me want to be better. He makes me feel better. He heals me. He eases my sorrow. He is my sunshine. He is my closest confidant. I trust him. Being a mom is hard. Being a single mom is really hard. Having a 22-year-old son allows me to celebrate not only my child, but also myself.

I have spent over twenty-two years being his mother and he is a wonderful human being both because of me, and in spite of me. I have had moments of real greatness as a mother, along with moments of epic failure, but all of them led to now, and now is good. My son is terrific and he loves me. He enjoys my company, asks me for advice, heeds my advice, and makes good choices. I won’t make a habit of having cocktails with my boy, but when it does happen I will embrace the moment. We worked hard to get here and having a cocktail with my son is all about keeping the faith.