Another One Is Flying Home
My second son, Naftali, turns 18 in August. By the time his birthday rolls around he will have made Aliyah, and will be living in Israel, surrounded by family – including his older brother. These two were born 13 months apart and have always been close. Totally different characters – individuals with strong personalities of their own. But this desire to live in Israel is present in all of my children. The youngest (11) says he’s not making aliyah because SOMEONE has to stay home and take care of Ima. But he’s young, and once his 3 older brothers have flown the coop to Israel and the army, I am sure he will follow.
While last year at this time I was extremely emotional with Aryeh leaving, this year the knowledge of Naftali being on his way soon has just left me in denial. Not real denial, because I do accept that he is leaving, I have been helping him with his paperwork and planning, and soon will be helping him with shopping and packing. But denial that I will have two adult children when I don’t really feel so old myself. Two grown up MEN who are forging their own way in life.
As a mother, it is so hard to let go. My babies – I nurtured them from the time of conception until now. Every living breathing moment has been about them, about raising them with the proper values, working hard so that they will be decent human beings, mensches. At this point I have to have the strength to believe in myself, to know that I have raised them well, and let them go off into the world to be true to themselves, and live the life that they want to live – which may not necessarily be exactly the life that I want them to live. They need to find their place in the world – without Ima holding their hand.
Letting go – before you have kids no one warns you how hard it is to let them go when it’s time. No one tells you how quickly it all goes (well, maybe they do, but you don’t believe it) and how quickly you go from packing diaper bags to packing kit bags and seeing your kids in army uniforms. Our third son has already asked me to open his Aliyah file, and even though I told him that I refuse to talk about it now, being that he just turned 16, I know that we will start the process soon enough and I will give him just as much support as his older brothers have received. Someone told me it gets easier with each child. It doesn’t. Looking at Naftali and hearing him talk about his life in Israel, and see the excitement shining in his eyes – I am so thrilled for him, but so emotional that he’s leaving home.
Aryeh is so happy in Israel – that gives me so much joy. To know that when Naftali makes it out there he has his brother to hang out with when time allows – that comforts me. They joke about getting an apartment together after they are both done with their army service, and flying me out twice a year to cook for them and fill their freezer. With pleasure.
I am overwhelmed with feelings – this last year has been an extremely emotional one – but the strongest feeling of all is pride. Pride in my sons. Pride in myself that I have raised such fine boys. Pride that I have raised children with a love of their country and a desire to serve their country in the army. I should have made Aliyah at their age. I didn’t. I am now living vicariously through them. Please God one day soon we will all be together in Israel.