I have it all worked out:
I pick up the kids when school ends (early, at around noon), pray that the police haven't closed off the Rova (Old City) parking lot yet, park my car in the lot, and walk into town with the kids, where we have a picnic in Gan HaAtzma'ut (Independence Park) under a tree (where I try to convince my kids that we are not dying of heat) and wait until 5:00 when flags are distributed (it is a challenge for a nice, polite, American mother to get flags for her three cute, young kids, when there are MANY big, strong boys pushing through and grabbing flags for their ENTIRE youth group, school, or whatever) and the rikudgalim (flag-dancing or dancing-flags) parade begins. We walk and dance, and sing, and walk and dance down Yafo (Jaffa) Street; then we follow the crowds in through Sha'ar Sh'chem (Damascus Gate), through the narrow, hot and crowded streets that lead to the Kotel (Western Wall) Plaza. We arrive, hot, sweaty, and tired. We do not daven (pray) or join any more dancing. We eat and drink, then trudge back to our car (greatful that it is inside the Rova), drive home (passing all those poor people who have to walk an extra half hour to their cars or the nearest buses -- no, there are no cabs available!), and collapse (sometimes I can actually get the kids to shower first, but most years I let them fall into bed and just wash their sheets the next day).
Ever since my kids were little, we did this EVERY year, on Yom Yerushalayim.
Last year, I was too tired and begged out, which turned out to be a bracha (blessing) because it was POURING rain and everyone who went came back FILTHY, wet and exhausted (and if that is how teenagers came home, imagine what it would have done to me and my kids!)
This year, however, I planned to do it again! (Yes, I really am a crazy lady!)
I was a little worried, because my kids' big all-day, end-of-year, school event is tomorrow. I did not know how I would manage with two big energy draining days in a row. Not to mention that Y has an all day school event the following day, which means that I would have three big energy draining days in a row!
So, I kept debating with myself about whether I could really manage this, and how bad would it really be if I decided that I was too old/tired/whatever, to keep doing this.....
In the end, I decided that I would push myself to do it anyway, for my kids.
Until this morning when I realized that:
1. Y could go with her youth group. (she expressed her desire to go with me, which made me feel all warm and fuzzy, but I knew that she would have a lot more fun with her youth group!)
2. MD had Sayarut (Scouts) and would want to go to that. (Sure enough, he called from school to ask if he could to to a friend's house and from there to Sayarut.)
Which just left A, who then called and asked to come with me to the pool today.
Well, that made my life easier.
I emailed/called all my students' parents to make sure they realized we had swimming lessons today (I had forgotten to confirm or cancel classes for Yom Yerushalyim, so I had to call them either way).
Then A and I went to the pool. A played. I taught.
And I thanked God that my kids were growing up.
Because, truthfully, though I love the rikudgalim, I really was too tired to do it this year.
Maybe it is the cancer; maybe it is my age; maybe it is a little of both.
I am happy to gracefully bow out, and let the next generation take over!
Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.
With love and optimism,