Sometimes life throws a curve ball that is really hard to catch.
I’m here in the US for a medical emergency for my oldest daughter with a scheduled return to Israel after one week. I planned to come for two weeks but those advising me in the US who were aware of what was happening medically told me that one week would probably be enough. I had been worried about leaving my family for two weeks, but one week was very manageable.
Then this morning I was talking to someone involved with the situation, and she mentioned that I’d probably have to stay two to three months to help my daughter with her medical situation. That timeline was so totally unexpected and I was so overwhelmed at that comment that I literally couldn’t say anything for over a full minute, and when I did I wasn’t successful at keeping my voice steady.
My mind was racing. How in the world am I supposed to leave all my kids overseas with minimal communal support for them? My dd16 can’t run the house on her own, it’s totally unreasonable and damaging to expect that of someone her age. My little kids are already asking if I’m coming home tomorrow, and that was when I had been here less than 24 hours – how do I tell them that it will be months before I come home? Skype and the telephone are wonderful tools but my kids need more than that.
What about Yirmiyahu and all his medical needs? Next week, I have five appointments scheduled for him (physical therapy, naturopath, pediatric hematologist, pediatric allergist, kidney ultrasound) – it’s taken time to get a handle on all of this. And now to start all over?
And my mother. She’s supposed to have another surgery after Pesach, and I’m supposed to be the one there to help support her and translate for her. She doesn’t make any demands on me and this is something I’m so happy I can do for her, but I can’t offer anything if I’m over five thousand miles away.
I couldn’t even think about this without getting emotional. How do you weigh the needs of one child against the needs of everyone else? How do you know when your presence will really make a significant difference that will justify the upheaval for everyone else, when either choice you make is a big loss for someone?
Hard, hard, hard.
Then I asked myself a different question: how could I minimize the negative impact of this experience on our family? A possibility that came to mind was to bring everyone here for a few months. This idea wasn’t much less overwhelming than the idea of staying apart for a few months. When a friend called a short time later and suggested it might make more sense to bring everyone here to be together during this time, I started crying and told her I can’t see how it’s possible, it’s just too much for everyone.
We’ve invested so much into getting everyone adjusted to life in Israel, and now we’re finally at the point that things are getting easier and everyone is settled in. Israel is where we belong and where we want to be, even though life in the US would be much easier in some ways. I have a lot of reservations about uprooting them at this point and bringing them here, not to mention the tremendous efforts that would be necessary to make it happen. And if I’m busy with everyone else being here, would that compromise my ability to be there for dd, which is the point of being here?
Take a deep breath and stop thinking so much, you don’t have to know all the answers or see where this is going. There’s a path and if you keep taking one step at a time and look for what G-d wants of you instead of trying to figure it out on your own, it will start to become clear what to do.
After several hours of feeling very emotional about all of this, I’m in a pretty good head space now. I don’t have answers or even a hint about how things will play out. But I know there’s a bigger plan here and that everything is playing out in a way that will be most beneficial for us all.