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Thursday, January 1, 2009

Here We Go Again....

A few months ago, Tzameret, one of the many leadership training groups in Jerusalem had a local congress for high school kids. Last year, Y's junior high school sent her as one of their representatives and she had a great time. There were religious and secular kids from junior high schools throughout Jerusalem, and it was an opportunity to discuss ideas with all sorts of different kids (not to mention, a chance to see friends from other schools). Y wanted to go this year too. But, since her school is full of leader-types, there were more kids who wanted to go than there were spaces available. So the seniors, who were in charge, made a raffle, and Y's name was not chosen.

Not to be deterred, Y offered to help distribute the information packets to the girls who would be attending the congress. As an aside, she asked if one of the girls could not go, could she go in their place. In the end, two of the girls could not attend, and Y was invited to attend. This year, again, she had a great time.

A few days ago, one of the girls in charge called to invite her to the national congress, in Tel Aviv. Y was less enthusiastic, but still agreed to go.

Then, last night, she approached me to discuss whether or not she should cancel.

This time, I was not emotionally invested in whether or not she attends. True, I think it is a good opportunity. But she has great classes today, including theater (which is her passion), and it is a shame for her to miss them. So, I just listened to her internal debate over the issue.

In addition to other considerations (missing school, missing swimming lessons, etc), Y was apprehensive about going somewhere new, with girls she did not know so well.

We had been down this path before.

This time, I was going to let her make the decision on her own. Besides a few reassuring comments, I basically just listened. The conversation was much shorter, and calmer than our last one. (Though not specifically referred to in this post, this issues were quite similar)

After a few minutes, she reticently decided to attend.

Still, I was not surprised to hear Y's screech this morning. I do not know what happened, but she was shouting something about not making it on time and not wanting to go.

It is amazing how calm one can be when one is not emotionally invested in an issue.

This time, I was not going to come in and "save the day." (like I did the last time)

I called Y into my room and encouraged her to take deep breaths and try to calm down. I pointed out that the group buses never leave on time. I also suggested she wear a simple and easy outfit that I knew she liked (if she took the time to deliberate what to wear, she would miss the bus for sure).

Sure enough, my daughter pulled herself together, got ready and caught the next public bus (that would take her to the group bus).

About twenty minutes later, she calmly called to update me. It was 7:59, and she was still on the public bus, at least 15 minutes away. Her friend had relayed to her that the group buses would depart no later than 8:05 (yeah, right). I had several suggestions for what Y could do, but she had already done them all! (I was so proud) Y was very non-challant. "Either they will still be there when I get there, or they won't," she declared, matter of factly. I could not tell if she would be upset or relieved to miss the bus. She seemed quite fatalistic about it.

As we were about to hang up, I suggested she try calling the girl who had recruited her in the first place. That girl, it turned out, was on the same bus as Y!

Fifteen minutes later, Y called to tell me that she was on the group bus, and could not find her friend, who must be on another bus.

I offered a few words of encouragement ("you'll meet new friends on the bus") and reminded her that she would meet her friend from school when they all got off the busses in Tel Aviv.

"Yeah, yeah," she sighed, clearly ready to get off the phone. She knew what I would say. She had heard it all before. (She remembered this) She was not especially worried.

My daughter was not calling for my assistance or my problem solving skills. She was not calling to complain either (well, maybe a little). Mostly, she was just calling to let me know. She was calling to share.

That is why I am here.

Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.

With love and optimism,

P.S. She had a great time!