I was on the computer in the guest room today, and I suddenly noticed that it seemed uncharacteristically dark for the middle of the day. I got up to open the blinds but once I reached the window, I was momentarily confused; the Trisim (blinds) were up, and yet all the sun was blocked. That's when I noticed the gigantic pile of glorified junk outside my guest room window, covering and filling the entire 4 foot wide and 12 foot deep alcove that said window opens up to. As we moved in less than 2 months ago, I've been priding myself on the fact that we're still relatively clutter free. Until I looked out that window and saw what looked like the aftermath of the recent Japan earthquake and tsunami.
Ok, seriously, I shouldn't joke about that, but even with the knowledge in the back of my mind that my boys have been quite busy preparing for their "best-on-the-street, no, best-in-the-neighborhood, no, BEST-IN-THE-WHOLE-CITY" Lag b'Omer bonfire, I never would have been able to guess what they've actually been up to all these hours.
Lucky me, now I don't have to. There, outside my guest room window, propped up against the side of my house, for my viewing pleasure is a jumble of junk unlike any I've ever seen. Yes, they have the typical cardboard boxes, old newspapers, random sticks and pieces of wood (some appearing to have recently been sawed off of trees -- we'll have to discuss that). But there are also planks 10 feet long, some with enormous dirty, rusty nails sticking out of them. There are several old splintered wood shipping pallets and even some sheets of scrap metal (I guess we'll have to talk about what flammable means, too). Don't forget several cinder blocks.
My first reaction is to (in a way that only Amercian Mother can) freak out and demand an explanation: "Where did this all come from???"
"Don't you see how dangerous some of it is??"
And most importantly, "How the heck did you get it up here??" (We live one flight up.)
But instead, I pause for a minute and can't help but smile. I think of all the lessons they're learning; working together (without killing each other), the value of good, hard work (even though they did use a "stolen" grocery cart to lug things from a construction site), communication skills (screaming at each other and fighting does too count) and negotiation skills (luckily the Arabs at the site were the negotiating type).
In all seriousness though, they are working together with other kids in the neighborhood towards a singular goal. It's hard work, and they're happy to do it, knowing that the results will be well worth it. It's particularly exciting for me to see them preparing, because my pilot trip to scout out apartments at this time last year was enhanced greatly by watching the kids in the neighborhood scurry around carrying anything that could move (sometimes anything that could be re-moved) and building these story high bonfires. I'll never forget the flight back that motzei shabbos, actually being able to see the bonfires from the air as we took off from Ben Gurion Airport.
So, American Mother will once again sit down and be quiet, because she really has no place on Israeli Lag B'Omer, except maybe to enforce some fire safety and bring lots and lots (and oh boy do I mean LOTS) of water to the actual bonfire site. And know that when we need to run to the doctor for Tetanus shots, American Mother will be there, right where she belongs; knowing deep down that she's done good for her kids.