We've pulled it off. Naomi and Joe's wedding. An almost 1000 mile road trip with the whole family to Niagara Falls and back, 2 shabbatot in different places as well as numerous hotels, al fresco meals and hugs and kisses with a myriad of friendly faces. It's been a whirlwind for Akiva, who's been sleeping late and has even nodded off in the car on occasion, something he hasn't done since he was about two years old.
He's shown amazing resilience and we've all had fun. In truth, much more than I truly anticipated before we left. It's hard to truly know what he's taken in but he's aware, I think, that it's all been a great big adventure and that his world has been expanded beyond its usual boundaries. And only today did he mention the airplane, the 'bayit house' which is what we call our home in Jerusalem, and Shalva, the afternoon program which he loves and attends daily after school.
Back in Israel, Akiva's life is so routinized. That works – for him as well as for us. School, Shalva, quiet evenings at home relaxing after a bath and snack. Bedtime. Life is straightforward and holds few surprises. It's a blessing for all of us and yet, there's the rub – his life is so small, too small sometimes. For 2 weeks, he had a huge adventure – new places, new faces, new experiences along with seeing all that's familiar and dear to him in NYC and Brooklyn. I only wish it wasn't so complicated. Special tips? Rented a mini van for travel – really a smart idea. Everyone was comfortable and Akiva had his own row. Hotels? Make sure they had a pool for early morning fun before sitting in the car. Snacks? As familiar and happy as possible.
Thank you to the special friends who spent time with Akiva and let us have some fun in the evenings and by day in Brooklyn; Brenda, Elana, Gella and most of all, our dear, Erszi.
See you again soon.
By Beth Steinberg, Shutaf Co-Founder