This morning I got up at 3 am in order to take ds13 to the airport, so that we could get the first bus leaving our city to Akko, the train from Akko, and then be there three hours before his departure time.
This was a replay of Thursday morning, except on that day, it was my husband who was got up early to take him. When they finally got to the airport, they were told that ds13 wouldn’t be allowed to board since he didn’t have an accompanying adult with him. Dh had checked the airline website before we purchased the ticket, but apparently misunderstood the policy about unaccompanied minors. With just five minutes before the flight departed, dh cancelled the ticket so that we would be able to get a refund.
This was a huge disappointment to ds13, who has been asking me for months if I’d let him to to the US to visit his friends. I repeatedly said ‘no’ to the idea of a visit during the summer. But about five weeks ago, I had a sudden understanding about how deeply important this was to him. It’s not easy to leave all of your friends and move to a new country, with a new language, mentality, and culture. It was hard. But he did it with a good attitude, which is how he does most things.
He was willing to use all of his savings towards the ticket, and when I realized how good for him it would be to reconnect with his friends, I quickly agreed to help him make his travel plans for Sukkos vacation. This trip was something everyone in our family felt happy he was able to do to be doing because we all know how much he’s missed his friends, and his anticipation was at a peak by the time he got to the airport. It was hugely disappointing for him to be so close and then suddenly be told that he wouldn’t be allowed to fly.
I told dh that because it was our mistake that caused the situation, it was up to us to try to remedy the mistake. Dh spent hours on Thursday scouring the internet for another affordable ticket, he couldn’t find anything. The cheapest ticket we could find was almost $500 more than his ticket had been. Reluctantly, we told ds that perhaps he could fly to the US for Pesach, in another six months (the next time he would have a long break from school).
He didn’t complain, but even though he said it was ‘fine’, he hardly said anything for two days. He asked me to call his best friend’s mother and notify them that he wouldn’t be coming because he couldn’t make the call. I was so sad about this; I had hoped that somehow we could find him a ticket but despite our efforts it just wasn’t happening.
On Saturday night, I got an email from a close friend that encouraged to make one more effort to find him a ticket. My husband thought it was a waste of time, but I told him that if there was any way we could get ds13 a ticket, I wanted to do it for him. After hours of searching, I found a ticket for him that was only about $200 more than his original ticket – leaving in 28 hours. Not only wasn’t it a huge amount more than the first ticket, this ticket was with an airline that allows children his age to travel alone so we wouldn’t have to find someone to accompany him, and also flies directly to Baltimore instead of NY – so not having to drive to NY to pick him up and drop him off make things much easier for his grandparents, which I’m happy about.
I stayed up in the early hours of Sunday morning to take care of this, then had to leave three hours later on the 5:45 am bus to Jerusalem in order to be there for my appointment. Ds was sleeping when I left so I wasn’t able to let him know about what I had done. (I didn’t tell him I was trying to find him a ticket because I didn’t want to raise his hopes.) We got him on the phone later on just as he was about to leave for school, and I told him, “I wanted to let you know that you have a ticket to fly to America tomorrow morning at 10:30”. There was a pause and then he said in a shocked but happy voice, “Are you serious? Oh my gosh!” I think he said something else like he couldn’t believe it and thanked me, but the happiness in his voice in his first six words was enough to have made all the effort worth it.
I’ve been feeling pressured about a couple of things going on right now, and there was an important message for me that was something that I really needed. I felt like we were the ones that had to make the ticket purchase happen, but then all our efforts to get ds a new ticket were totally useless. It wasn’t until I totally gave up and recognized that it wasn’t up to me that G-d sent me what I was looking for. And He sent us something better than what we were hoping for.
This is a message I need to internalize and hold onto. Right now I’m dealing with a couple of situations that require a lot of energy and effort on my part and it’s been discouraging and disheartening to see the lack of progress in the direction I would like. The reminder of this flight situation is that it’s really not up to me because I have absolutely no control over anything that happens. I have to make the effort, but I also have to accept that I’m not the one who can control the outcome. Things may look bleak but G-d can do anything, and things can change from seemingly impossible to incredibly wonderful in a very short time – like ds being able to go to the US!