Monday, April 1, 2013

Vacation

Vacation and I have this love-hate relationship. Admittedly a workaholic, I also enjoy spending time with my family. So after saving up some overtime hours, and while the kids are home from school for over two weeks straight, I decided to take some time off.

My first two days of vacation I only worked a total of five hours.  On the third, I worked another five. Coming home to five restless pairs of adorable blue eyes, I finally caved and set up an auto-reply on my email that I would be gone for a while.


We've had a great time, my family and I. A lot of hair pulling too...as the kids, and also the adults, do our best to adjust to the unusual amount of time that we are "breathing each others' air." Of course, the early part of the vacation was preparation for Passover. A wonderfully helpful guest arrived the day before the seder and the kitchen was clean and ready despite a late start. A family with three playmates for our children arrived later, followed by my sister. It was practically a miracle that we fit all 13 of us into the living-room-turned-dining-room.  Reminded me of Shabbats and holidays while we were on shlichut. Hadn't had so many guests at once since those days...


After the first day of Passover, we road-tripped to Hamat Gadar with extended family. The water was stinky but soothing. Kids had a blast at the petting zoo and bird show. We missed the alligator feeding, but everyone was content to swim a bit longer. I recruited my brother to ride one of those gut-wrenching gyroscope things that I hadn't set foot on since pre-pregnancy days. Used to be crazy about roller coasters, as some of my friends may tell you with some slight residual tremors at the memories. Before the sun set, we strolled around the ancient Roman bathhouse and caught a second, impromptu, bird show from a resident peacock.




Yom tov, Shabbat, yom tov--and now, here we are at the end.  It was too short, but it should have ended yesterday. As with any extended break at home, I mentally beat myself up for not being home with my kids all day, every day. Hemdiya opens up and rattles on about the workings of his three year-old mind. It's mostly talk of birthdays and his favorite things to eat, sprinkled with kisses and hand gestures when words won't suffice. His Hebrew is getting better now and sometimes the two languages get crossed. Cute as a button. Yahli Tifferet is already out of the infant stage and is a full-blown baby. Cooing and giggling, rolling and nearly sitting, her knees are as chubby as her smile.

The two bigger kids are just that: bigger. Teneya is nearly nine and Puriel's height fools strangers into thinking he's the oldest of the bunch. She has an email address already, and he's been on his first sleepover. Where does the time go? Before I know it, they'll be driving me to the doctor for my hearing aid tune-up.

Before the holiday, I got together with my usual Rosh Chodesh crew: an eclectic mix of mothers in a neighboring town. I adore these ladies and treasure this time to sing, create, learn, eat and talk with other women who have many of the same joys and struggles that I do.

After painting, I shared a song that was my anthem on the way out of my "Egypt" and has stuck with me since. Even now, ten years after packing my duffle bag and handing over the one-way ticket that I received three day earlier, the words still resonate just as strong...perhaps even more so. Smack in the middle, between Rosh Chodesh and Passover, we celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. Ever glancing over my shoulder, still gazing at the long path ahead, constantly flitting between here and then, now and there, "the promise and the things I know."  I'll have to record the song some day to share it with you too.

So I'll eat my last matza ball and save these pictures for the next vacation; sit down with a cup of tea to pull them out and dream of the good times and the bad, the sweet smiles of young faces. Then make more memories for the next year.