I had an entire blog post already written and ready to be posted, when I decided at the last minute, to delay it until next week and write a completely different one.
The reason was simple. My oldest daughter left to go to Israel today through Detroit’s Jewish Federation along with my two younger ones who left for sleep away camp.
My heart is heavy. I know my two younger ones are only two hours away and have arrived safe and sound to their destination. While it’s a privilege for all of them to have such a great summer and enjoy being away, it’s hard to prepare them and make sure that they have everything that they need, they might need, you think they need, they could possibly need one day, someone else might need, or that they don’t need but it makes you feel better as a parent for sending it. This is called “meshugganah thinking”. It’s another Yiddish word for crazy. Ok, I’ll take crazy when it comes to my kids. Yes…crazy- as in bat shit crazy when it comes to all of them. I prepare all my children to go away with enough supplies to keep a third world country thriving.
I know where my younger ones are. They are close by and in good hands. It’s the older one that brings on my heavy heart. When I signed her up to go to Israel, I was so excited for her to experience all the joy and richness that this wonderful country would bring to her. I was not prepared to find out, on the eve of her departure, that three innocent teenagers would be found brutally killed by a terrorist group. My heart bleeds for the families of these kids. While I am sending my daughter off to experience the trip of a lifetime, three other mothers are burying their children. My heart aches. It aches terribly. I can’t even imagine the pain they are experiencing. It is an atrocity no parent should ever know from.
I know she is safe, and she will be protected…
Nonetheless, my second hand trauma from being the child of a holocaust survivor kicks in, and I feel like I’m sending her away to a war zone. I would be a liar if I said I wasn’t afraid. No one knows better then me that she will be fine…but she’s so far away.
For me, goodbyes are never easy. In fact, they are the hardest thing for me to do in my life. If I love you and you’re part of my inner circle, I will never get off the phone without saying just how much I love you. I hold on to each person that I love and cherish him or her always. Those that are in my life, pretty much know that they will always be part of it- even if their role changes. I don’t like to let go.
While it’s true…I wait all year for that much needed break during summertime that every parent can empathize with- the truth is that when they finally do leave, they all take my heart with them. (And I do mean my heart…like the entire heart, ventricles and arteries all of it).
I miss them almost immediately after I say goodbye. Ok, who am I fooling? I miss them the minute we are in the car and I know they aren’t coming back for a while. My tears start the second we buckle ourselves in. It’s almost pathetic that my kids are always the ones telling me it will be ok and to stop crying. It was less painful when they all were just in their cribs and I could protect them.
Shel Silversetin said it best:
“There are no happy endings.
Endings are the saddest part,
So just give me a happy middle
and a very happy start.”
It is important to know when to let go.
I think letting go of your child is the very hardest thing a parent can do. I love my children so much that it hurts. (The good hurt though). I only want the best for them and this often means letting them go. It means letting them experience all of life. It means knowing I can’t protect them from everything. It means letting them learn to fly. And sometimes it means saying goodbye.
To my Danielle…please be safe in Israel. You are carrying both our hearts. I love you!
My heart goes out to the families of the murdered teens, to the Israeli people, and to all who dream of peace.
Until next week…
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