I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas week, however you spent it. I myself saw a few movies and ate Chinese food.
Here’s what my next few weeks look like: I’m taking my sons to Israel! We leave in a few days and we’ll be gone 10 days. On my mother’s side of the family, I have an aunt, uncle, four cousins, and about 20 children of my cousins living throughout the West Bank. I also have an aunt, uncle, and cousins who live on a secular kibbutz. On my father’s side, I also have a few cousins, including my cousin who I learn with on the phone, who made aliyah about five years ago.
Here’s the plan:
1. Rent a Car
I’m renting a car identical to the one my ex owns for the duration of my trip. One of my cousins is lending me car seats. I think in Israel people are much more laid back about car seats, but I’m going to go ahead and not do what the Romans do car seat-wise on this trip.
2. Plan Little
Particularly because my younger son is sensitive to loud sounds, lots of people, and too much shlepping here and there, I haven’t planned much of anything. On my vague itinerary is the Military Museum in Latrun, miniIsrael, which is a miniature replica of the entire country, and a day trip to Tel Aviv-Yaffo.
Although I love Jerusalem possibly more than any other city in the world, being alone with two kids in Jerusalem–particularly considering my younger son’s sensitivities–sounds like not a good idea. The one thing I have to do on this trip though is take them to the Kotel, or Western Wall. I assume it will be very moving and profound for me and possibly boring and hectic for them. My older son knows a bit of the history of the Beit Hamikdash, so I’m hoping he has a moving and profound experience there, if in an 8-year-old way.
The best hummus in the world is to be found in Israel. My sons love hummus. We will eat lots of it. The Dan Bern song, “Jerusalem,” which is a beautiful song by the way, discusses Dan Bern’s love for olives in Israel. We’ll probably eat a lot of those, too.
5. Sarah Tuttle-Singer!
I’m hoping to meet contributing editor Sarah Tuttle-Singer in Israel. I have so much respect for her as a writer and as a divorced mom and I just love the international sisterhood that Kveller has created in our lives.
I don’t own an iPad and don’t even think I truly know how to use one. My ex has an iPad and he shows the boys Sesame Street and games and such, but I have not yet made that technology leap. Everyone is telling me that I need to for the 14-hour plane ride, but I honestly don’t know that that’s true. I have bought some craft projects for the plane and my boys love to be read to and I’ll bring some snacks and some of that toxic fart sound-making gloop they sell in supermarkets and I just feel like we can figure this out without an iPad. I guess if I’m wrong, I can always buy one in Israel for the plane ride home!
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about traveling alone with my sons, even if I did have full use of my right hand. I’m scared about handling jet lag alone and shlepping luggage alone and being alone; but my family is wonderful. My older son has been to Israel twice and remembers some of his cousins who I hope will keep him content, and as for my younger son, as anyone with a sensitive high-needs sweet 5-year-old knows, it’s anyone’s guess how this will play out. What I do know is that I believe in traveling to Israel. I believe in taking children to Israel. And I believe that I can handle whatever this trip looks like.
And since I know you’re all wondering, no, I’m not flying first class.
Happy New Year, Happy Sylvester, and I’ll talk to you from the Holy Land!