I’m leaving tonight.
Eight. Days. Eight. Nights. Like Hanukkah, only in August. And not really.
The longest I’ve been away from my kids up until now is, like, eight hours…
“Dude, it’s just eight days!” my friend David reassures me on the phone.
“They’ll survive!” Chris tells me on gchat.
“If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” Michal messages me on Facebook.
Still, let me tell you about the reaction on the kibbutz:
The conversation starts off innocuously enough at the coffee place where I am smoking my (third) cigarette and sipping my (second) latte.
“What’s new, Sarah?”
“I’m flying to LA next week!”
“Oh how wonderful! And of course you’re taking the kids!” (This is always said without a question mark.)
“Actually, I am going alone.”
You can hear the muezzin calling the faithful to prayer in Lebanon during the silence that follows. And while my news sinks in, I try not to squirm under the unblinking Eyes of Judgment, because Heaven Fore-fucking-fend I should allow myself this treat without turning my stomach in knots first.
After all, what kind of mother puts her own needs first and leaves her children (with a loving father, and savta, and uncle and caring teachers, and wonderful friends and assorted extended family members) for eight days.
The Bad Mother.