Back home


Give him space: check – Empty backpack and suitcase: check – Laundries (3 or 4): check – Store addresses: check I guess… A long day, that started at 4:00 am to get to JFK and pick-up the returning traveler.

Five weeks: they went so fast. Truth to the matter I certainly never had time to miss him. I told him so, because it does not mean I don’t love him, and that his presence in the family dynamics is not necessary, and that I don’t need to have him around, and that when he is away I miss having the moments we share, and that are priceless.

It just went crazy fast because I am busy with my own life, and because I was especially confident that he was having the adventure of a lifetime. And also, and above all because the organization is so flawless, that every plan was stored, that I could “follow” where he must have been, because the information-control-freak in me had everything in check from tracking the air travels to measuring the time of the day or the night with the time differences, to checking the weather. Not mentioning the scrutinizing each posted picture to decipher whether the proper shoes were on, that there was no sign of a broken limb or dehydrated body in the heat of the desert…


Reading the multiple blogposts published on NFTY Israel’s blog was also a treat. From what others -adults and teenagers alike- were writing, gave me the proper perspective I needed to follow, to imagine places I have never been to, and to make me dream or think of what it could be like for a sixteen year-old young man to be going through, coming from the relative comfort of a very privileged life in twenty-first century United States, when hitting that stage in life when you really need to confront your idealism to real life far, far away from the parental hovering and sheltering.

It also gave me so many opportunities to remember that I have been sixteen, some decades ago (centuries? oy veyz mir!) and what happened when I left, when I went on other sides of the world, and discovered my self without being a child anymore, how I came back transformed for ever and what a transition it had been, with so many points of no return…

Not anything to calm down any parental anxiety, that is for sure, but just because I could remember, I was so determined to let it happen, for the better and with joyful anticipation: my son is not me, and my experiences are not his, can’t be, but they can still educate me in listening, understanding, and being there for him when he needs it: and I am well aware that the cultural shock of coming back to the sameness that is left in the comfort of his home needs time and patience to set in.

Son back home after 11 hour flight
Back home from NFTY Israel 2013