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We’re Moving to Israel…and I’m Freaking Out

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Well, two more months and my family sets sail. Actually, we will take flight. To Israel. For a year. Maybe two. Maybe more…

Several times in the past, I have moved away from Boston—my home, place of my birth, where my parents still live. The only difference was that I had no kids then. I had all day to think about myself, my own feelings, my own logistics, and I spent little or no time thinking about anyone else, not even my husband. By nature, he is a man who lives for the next big move. I suppose it stems from his own move to the US from Israel when he was 18.

READ: Making Aliyah in the Midst of a War

Even now as we prepare to embark on this monumental family adventure, my husband is all about getting stuff done. He traveled there to find us our apartment, he worked to get the kids enrolled at school, he opened bank accounts, and he is currently working out how we will have a car when we get there. He dealt with Nefesh B’Nefesh—the agency which helps new Israeli immigrants. I forward him all the emails addressed to me, and I know he will take care of them. That is his M.O. No time wasted on emotional breakdowns, tears, or even discussion of feelings. Without him, nothing would ever get done. I am fully aware of this and eternally indebted to him. If it were up to me, I would simply be in a teary emotional heap all day every day leading up to the big move.

But with all that logistical stuff going on, someone needs to address the emotional needs of the family, right? I guess I am that someone. I am the one who lies awake worrying about my three kids. How will they adjust? Will it be so sad for them to say goodbye to their friends? I am already crying as I pack up boxes; will they? What will it be like to be surrounded by the Hebrew language 24-7, rather than the one hour a day they now study it at school? Will they make friends? Will the large classes hurt their academics? What if there is a war like last summer? Am I going to scar them emotionally? Will they be safe?!

READ: My Family is Thinking About Moving to Israel–But It’s Hard Not to Be Afraid

It is easy to spend all day worrying about them. I have spent hours doing just that. During the day I give them pep talks about how awesome this adventure will be and how easy it will be to make friends, fit into the culture, the language, and the lifestyle. I convince them that they will love it so much (shorter school days, less homework, more free time, more freedom) that they won’t ever want to return home to the U.S.

But then they go to bed. And between the time they go to sleep and the next day, I worry. I know that the adjustment will be hard, even scary for them at times. It will be lonely. It will feel unsettling and strange, and we will all want to come home to the familiar. What if none of them make good friends? What if the year drags on and feels like three years and everyone just wants to come home? Once the worries start, they just keep flowing.

READ: How Moving to Israel Taught Me to Actually Listen to My Kids

I suppose this is where I have to close my eyes and let momentum take over. I have a lot of packing to do and three little girls to keep calm and excited. I am beginning to realize that it will be, at the very least, a year-long bonding experience for our family. At the very most, it will be a life-changing decision that will affect all of our lives—as a family unit and as individuals. Whether we stay a year, two years, or forever, I know that this move is something my family will never regret. Though, I would not mind if my husband wanted to take over a little bit of the worrying for a while…

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