Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Your Royal Highness

As Purim approaches, Raphaela's kindergarten has started teaching the topic of  "Kings, Queens and Castles." The resulting conversation last night was more than revealing to me:

Raphaela:  Am I the Queen?
Mommy:  No, I am the Queen in the house and you are the Princess, because you are my girl and I am in charge.
Raphaela:  When I have a baby, you will become the Grandma and I will be the Queen.
Mommy:  Yes.
Raphaela:  But where is your King?
Mommy:  Believe me, sweet girl, I am still looking for the right man.
Raphaela:  Well, it's never too late.  Even when you are a Grandma you should be able to find yourself a Grandpa.

(Moving onto the subject of castles...)
Raphaela:  Do we have a big house?
Mommy:  It is more than enough for the two of us, but your grandparents' house in America is bigger, and has a big back yard.  That's how Mommy grew up when she was little.
Raphaela:  But our house is big.
Mommy:  Not as big as a castle, no, but a good home for us.

I gave up a lot to move to Israel, and I do not regret the decision, even when things feel like a struggle, because I doubt that I would have become a mother to Raphaela if I had stayed single in the United States. 

The one dream that eludes me - mostly for financial reasons and the ridiculous real estate market - the one element of American life that I lust after each day, is owning a home here in Jerusalem. Not an apartment where I fight about central heating and parking spaces and whether the crazy old lady downstairs is afraid of my cat Harry;  rather, a living space that has more than one floor, relative privacy and a patch of grass to set up a hammock or a climbing toy.  A yard to host  a picnic or birthday party, or build a snowman or sunbathe.  A house where I can decorate and build as I like, make repairs immediately without getting permission, and where no owner (no matter how kind and accommodating) can decide to make the rent exorbitantly higher or decide to kick us out on a whim.

A mortgage, but with the stability of knowing that I live in my own castle.

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