Thursday, November 24, 2005

It's A Lie

For all those out there with children contemplating a cross-state, cross-country, cross-Atlantic, cross-continent move, I've got news for you:

When They tell you "kids are flexible" "kids adjust" "it'll be easier for them than you" "they bounce back quickly" ....and any other adage casually tossed about while you're so busy packing, searching for new digs, closing up accounts, gathering information and saying goodbyes that you need to hear something comforting, Don't Believe Them!

Because as we sidle up to month 3 of Tel Aviv occupation, I continue to feel pained while peeking through the window of our 4-year-old's kindergarden as he sits inside sucking his thumb and twisting his hair during end-of-day circle time, oblivious to the story being read or song being sung. Walking home each morning, I cry harder than he has moments prior during dramatic, good-byes at the school gate. I pain for him as he pines for a first, special friend or a whole slew of friends and daily I long to cave when he begs to stay home from "that school I don't like where they all talk in Hebrew."

I know that a lot of this is normal but I don't give a toss. Lurking on an ultra-conscious level is the sense that I may have wronged my son. Despite motives of coming here in order to provide him with the utmost possible within my means, a nagging sense lingers that I've uprooted him from popularity, from a fawning kindergarden teacher who fanned his ego, from a preschool where indulging in water play and nakedness (down to underwear) on a whim was acceptable and from an overall softer approach to living life and relating to others. And yes, I know that any life decision has its up and downside, but when I stand outside that window watching him twist his hair? ...See line one of this paragraph for my take.

I can't help but ask myself: Have I done to him what our parents did to my three siblings and myself by relocating from a mixed race, liberal, intellectual enclave during key, pre-teenage years to a Wonder Bread suburban setting where kids tipped cows for fun? To this day my sister and I still concur about how very wrong the move was for our inherent natures...

Will Rapha's nature which incorporates a love of painting and art, a desire for brightly colored items like the pink bicycle he requested for his birthday (NO San Francisco jokes, please!), extreme sensitivity and an ability to intuit beyond his years get smashed here?

I can only hope not; I stop dwelling now as a small, Birthday Child begging to be photographed has awakened. A Happy Fourth to my Dearest Dear!...I wish I could shield you from the worst while knowing exactly how to give you the very best. While I'm figuring it out, however, You are MOST welcome for the Ooh They're Beautiful, Thank You Mommy!! fairy lights.


susie said...

wow....happened upon your blog today. As I write, our Aliyah plans are beginning. My children will be 5 and almost 3 when we move. I KNOW it will be difficult for them, and I am scared. But tell me..........there has to be a WONDERFUL side to it all, something wonderful that your son has experienced?

Hoping his days go better.....from one emah to another!

Stephanie said...

Thanks for your well wishes. 1st of all, I'm a drama queen so that prefaces everything. But that's not to downplay the fact that this has been the major difficulty for me here aside from bureaucracy, which I expected. Check out my previous entries on Raph's 1st day of school or "why I stay" to gain balance in perspective

2nd: Each person's travails differ so what may be difficult for me won't be an issue for you at all...Don't worry. It all washes out ultimately anyhow! Good luck in your move...Steph

hadas said...

We did it the other way around - TLV - Toronto last year. I can so much understand what you are going through. They do adjust, eventually, only, it takes a while. A year has passed and I still feel the same - about uprooting my kid from his "natural" environment - his "tribe". I will probably go back, for this reason, in two years. We're coming for a visit in three weeks (yea!) and was very surprised when Daniel said he wishes to be "a little" in Tel Aviv (he then gestures with his hand to demonstrate quantity) but made sure we will be returning back to Toronto. His English is almost perfect now.
He went to a wonderful pre-school in Tel Aviv, a totally open environment that might be what you are looking for. Let me know if you need information about this place.

susie said...

A drama queen, huh? :) I get that! But still, it's so hard on them, I know. We of course haven't talked to the boys about aliyah yet, it's too early for a July move to do so. (still having trouble broaching the subject with my own mom, but that's another story). But I've been dropping little hints, and aliyah innuendos. We look at pictures online of people who are so happy that they've moved to israel, we talk about how my husband made aliyah when he was a boy, etc.

Anyway, I'm rambling. Time to start my own blog maybe? I look forward to reading some of your earlier posts. Thank you.


lisoosh said...

My daughter is about to turn 4. There is nothing more painful than watching your child suffer and being unable to do anything about it.