Have I mentioned how much I LOVE living in Israel?! Especially now that the weather is finally cooperating, I feel like we can at last start living here, and loving it!
This morning, I popped out of bed (please read: “groggily slogged to the bathroom”) and loudly started announcing that “we” were leaving in ½ an hour for school, which drew some funny looks from the brood. See, “we” never go anywhere in the morning. “We” generally stay in our pajamas until about 9am when N starts yelling for the park so persistently that it might just be child abuse if I ignore him any longer. “They”, on the other hand trek up the hill no matter what the weather, and when they need a parental unit for whatever reason, it’s “he” that goes up, and never, ever “We”. So, when I said, “we”, I got quite a confused and suspicious reaction.
Don’t get me wrong. In my defense, I am not just an overweight, lazy mother. For the record: I am an overweight lazy mother, who really, really doesn’t like the heat. And now that it seems to have officially dipped into the 70s more than one day in a row, I really have no more excuses. I’ve also spent a lot of the last week walking and it IS getting easier.
So, S, J and I trekked up this morning (B and A got a ride to ulpan in BS), and it was really a beautiful walk. The mornings here are crisp and clear and smell of something fresh and new. It’s a nice ½ hour to spend with the kids one on one, or one on two. I also love the hustle bustle of the mornings of all the kids getting to school, men coming home from shul, shopkeepers opening and the town coming to life.
My real agenda this morning was to help first grader S unpack his backpack and leave his books at school. Over the past few weeks, his books have slowly made their way from his cubby to his backpack, and everyday he has been schlepping a 20 lb bag up the hill, like a little pack mule. Yesterday, when S took his shirt off, BAW pointed out that he has not an ounce of fat on him. Regardless of his new GQ physique, I couldn’t take him carrying all that around with him. For some reason, I can’t get him to leave the stuff in his cubby on his own, so I figured this was a job for SuperMom. “We” to the rescue!
Another fine point: I needed to speak to them at the school to remind them that once again, the kids are complaining that there is no toilet paper in the bathrooms. Even when I send them with tissues, they are embarrassed to take them out of their backpacks and bring them into the bathroom. The dirty job of a mother….
So, off “we” went, and it was clear that J wasn’t going to believe that I was actually going to walk up with them until she saw me head out the door. About half way up, she says to me, “Hey, Ima, you do pretty well for someone who doesn’t do this every day!” Thanks for the perky encouragement, J.
We dropped J off and made our way up to the boys’ school. I still can’t get over the fact that a 5 (ok, almost 6!) year old makes this walk every day without complaint. Not to mention the 7, 10 and 11 year olds. I am really so proud of them!
Now, this particular boys’ school is known for total and complete chaos. And still, I love it. The boys are so happy, smiling, playing, schmoozing, and for the most part, doing it all like mentchen. We walked into S’s first grade classroom, and the boys run over, “Y! (They call him by his full name) Boker Tov!” They put their arms around his shoulders, they hug him, and dance a little impromptu jig as only first grade boys can. They notice me and immediately start to authoritatively help me, mostly in English with Israeli accents, some in Hebrew, a few in good ole’ American English.
“This book goes in the cubby, this one stays in the backpack.”
“Here, let me do it.”
“Come, Y, I will show you.”
They take over completely, throwing old papers away, organizing the cubby, and eventually hand me back a near empty backpack. They reminded me on some level of a coffee clutch of old Sefardi men. You know, the retired taxi drivers that sit around and drink “Caffe Turki”; brusque in their manner, yet efficient, and caring. And thankfully none of them had a cigarette. It was endearing and sweet.
After saying goodbye to S, I headed to the office to file my TP complaint, and the only thing to report from that visit was that a teacher gently put her hand on my arm and looked me square in the eye, and corrected a wrong word I had used in Hebrew. (I used “ya’giya” for a woman, she earnestly repeated “ta’giya” about four times.) So, that set back my using Hebrew ever again for about 6 months. Thanks.
Otherwise, besides that and the fact that for no reason known to man or the inhuman Bezeq phone company, we have had no internet for the past two days, all is good. I am writing this the old fashion way; in Word, and I guess I’ll have to repost it on the internet if we ever get it back.
Maybe the 1st grade boys can show me how.