I don't know what happened. Despite all good intentions to sleep in, I woke up bright and early on Yom Ha'Atzma'ut. (Reality check: for me, "bright and early" came around 9:30 am).
By 10:30, our entire household was awake. By 11:15, we were ready to go... in theory. In practice, we didn't leave the house until 11:45. We had planned on arriving by 12:30. In reality, at 1:00 pm, we were the first to arrive. Our friends arrived half an hour later; my M&FIL arrived half an hour after that.
By 2:00, everyone had arrived. Finally. I was hungry.
Last year, since my mom was leaving Israel right after Yom Ha'Atzma'ut, we decided to stay at home, watch the Chidon HaTanach (Bible Quiz) and have a small family BBQ. It was a great day.
So, this year, we planned to do the same. We invited our friends T&JG to join us.
Then, a week before Yom Ha'Atzma'ut, my SIL called and suggested we meet her family, and my in-laws, at Ya'ar Ben Shemen. I could just see it: first it would take us hours to get there, because of all the traffic. Then, we would discover that we are all in different parts of the forest, because none of us really know the area. Then, we would spend the next few hours, calling back and forth on our cell-phones, trying to find each other. Not a fun day.
I described the potential scenario, in detail. My SIL hesitated only a moment before accepting my adamant rejection of her plan. I then invited my SIL to either "come up with a different plan or come to a BBQ at our home."
My SIL made other plans.... she hijacked our BBQ!
She called up our friends (who are also her friends) and asked them if they would mind having the BBQ at her home. Then she called us again, and cajoled us into have the BBQ by her. Only one caveat: there would be no BBQ. Hotdogs and hamburgers would be "grilled" in the oven.
I tried to negotiate, but I lost. First, my SIL's car died, so she could not go anywhere. Second, she does not like the smell or taste of a BBQ, and she finds the process too slow and tedious.
OK. Did I really have a choice?
So, off we went, to Hareisha!
When we got there, my little nieces were nowhere to be found.
"What?" my eldest daughter asked, in shock, "They just wander off on their own?"
"Yup. That's how it is, in a yishuv," I explained.
"When I grow up," Y declared, not for the first time, "I am going to live in a yishuv!"
Sounds good to me. I always wanted to live on a yishuv. Only, when the time came to leave the Yerushalayim, I could not tear myself away. I never wanted to live in a city. But I LOVE living in Yerushalayim Ir HaKodesh (The Holy City of Jerusalem). Now, of course, it is a b'racha (blessing) to be so close to the hospital. (Who knew?)
Anyway, we found their cousins. (The yishuv is not that big -- There are only around 30 families; a few more families moved there recently).
We gathered inside my SIL's caravan, then split up: big people in the dining room, little people in the kitchen. Y was "camp counselor, elect." She likes that role. Besides, our conversation is "boring." (Not to us.)
Too soon, it was time for us to go.
We spent at least half an hour (probably closer to an hour) taking pictures on the lawn and finishing our conversations. The kids spotted each additional conversation as an opportunity to disappear and keep playing. It was a bit comical.... and also heartwarming to see how much the kids enjoy playing together.
We all had a great time!
But we had "places to go, and people to see...."
We were off to Ginot Shomron to hang out with good friends... and have a real BBQ. Ginot Shomron is Moshe's favorite yishuv. We could totally live there. It is beautiful. And there is amazing chevra there. Different friends heard we were visiting and kept coming by. It was so much fun!
Oh, and did I mention that our friends have a pool table?!
How awesome is that?!
It was quite late when we finally headed home.
We had some interesting conversations in the car, until, one by one, all the passengers, including me, drifted off to sleep.
It was a good day, filled with family, friends, good food, good conversation, and ideological debates about the state of the State of Israel.
Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.
With love and optimism,