Saturday, August 1, 2015

Vacation and Politics in Israel

Since we are not taking any major vacation trips this summer, I had decided that I would take off certain random days of work so that Raphaela and I could do local day trips, have bits of vacation inside a regular work week.  I also felt it was important to spend time with Raphaela before she starts First Grade in the fall, to make her feel special.

I had decided that tomorrow would be one of those days, a hike/exploration of the Herodian archaeological site followed by an afternoon of fun by the pool with our adopted family in Tekoa. [Near Herodian, very much over the Green Line, a stressful car ride on a regular day]

First came the heat wave, over a week of temperatures throughout the country in the mid to upper 30 degrees Celsius.  Not a time to be out in the sun and hiking the top of a mountain, no matter how interesting and historical it might be.

Then came the promise of violence, from Jews and Arabs alike, following the burning death of an Arab baby, one day after a deranged Ultra-Orthodox man stabbed six people at the Jerusalem Gay Pride parade.  So I have to ask myself, given that the road to Herodian and Tekoa runs through several Arab villages, is it actually safe or smart to drive there?  Am I putting my life and that of my daughter in danger, or am I over-reacting to the news and the politics and the threats of Armageddon?

I may be more aware than some, since I was almost killed by a Palestinian sniper during the Second Intifada, in 2001.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Wednesday Encounters

This afternoon Raphaela had her semi-annual preventative dental check-up.  The dentist had nothing but praise for the condition and cleanliness of her teeth, and even showed me one milk tooth that had the slightest bit of wiggle.  Then the dentist looked at me grimly and said, "However...I would start saving up for braces now."

Once we returned home, we bumped into our downstairs neighbors, they have a girl the same age as Raphaela and a boy two years older.  We two moms lamented the fact that tomorrow is the last day of official camp.  When I asked the other mother about her plans for August, she answered, "We will all start to climb the walls, like everyone else in our position."

Monday, July 27, 2015

There.  I said it.  I am officially a Mom.
"Raphaela, money does not grow on trees!"

Sunday, July 26, 2015

This morning, as Raphaela watched me brush my teeth, she asked quietly, "Mommy, when will I know all the things that you know?"

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Flashback Wednesday

Last year at this time, we here in Israel were sorting out the sirens and the bomb shelters and the consequences of a war.  It was a hard place to live.

This morning a test siren went off, the population had been told in advance and yet...when it started I had a flashback to last summer, and I had instant nervous tension in my stomach and the beginnings of a terrible headache.

And when the siren ended, I started thinking about the deal the United States just made with Iran, how that puts me and my child and everyone in my country in harms way, not to mention any other Western infidel within reach of long-range ballistic missiles.  Then the headache flowered, full force.

I love Israel, I would not want to live or raise my daughter anywhere else,  but during that siren I was less than convinced.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

All in Due Time

Every so often, I fall prey to the pointless competitive thinking IE "All her friends are doing ______, she should be doing _______ as well."  So two years ago I bought her a top of the line bicycle and safety helmet, and over the past two years, except for brief visits, that bike has sat in our storage room, gathering dust and losing the air in its tires.

For this long Summer vacation, I had created a list of goals and day trips for the months of July and August, and at the top of that list is learning how to ride her bike, and learning how to swim.  Yesterday we took the bike out for the first time, filled the tires with air and tried riding, just enough to give her a taste but not enough to traumatize her.

Since before she was born, in the womb itself, Raphaela has consistently shown me that she does everything at her own pace and when she is absolutely ready;  there is no point in pushing her before she reaches that emotional place of readiness.

Today, Day Two of the great bicycle agenda, I witnessed an amazing substantial leap in her progress.  Not only did she pedal on her own, she mastered the art of breaking and even started making some complicated turns, all on her own.

For me the best part of this exercise was seeing that electricity in her eyes and her feeling of confidence grow right in front of me. At this pace, I will have to buy my own bicycle so we can ride together.  (I of course have not been on a bike in 20 years, and that frightens me, though they say it comes back to you almost immediately.)

As far as the swimming lessons, that will take place in August, when her current camp finishes.  I may even return to swimming myself, to that time before she was born when I was swimming laps/running/lifting weights four to five time per week.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

And the Winner is NOT

This morning I actually made Raphaela's lunch for camp, and she placed it inside her back pack.  In my rush to get her to camp on time, and to start my work day, we forgot the back pack in the car; I only realized it later, in the middle of my work day.

In a telepathic coincidence, at that same moment the camp called and said that Raphaela, - my girl who loves predictability and her food - was hysterical at the idea that I had broken protocol.

I immediately moved around some of my patients and rushed over to deliver her lunch and her back pack, in the 33 degree Celsius heat of Jerusalem.

I guess I am not getting the Mother of the Year award today.  When she is sitting on the shrink's couch 20 years from now, she will say, "There was that day that Mommy forgot my lunch..."