People-watching in a mirror.

Waiting for my mom at the airport this morning, I got to engage in the curious ritual that is people-watching. Airport arrival halls are the best places to people-watch.

This pre-holiday Friday morning was even more interesting.

One family particularly stood out to me. I watched a middle-aged couple – probably around my mother’s age – walk out through the sliding doors of customs and scan the crowd. At one point the woman smiled enormously and began waving. A youngish couple – maybe in their late 20s – waved back with similar smiles and began walking towards them. The mother and daughter embraced wildly (because now it was clear, these were the young woman’s parents) while the father and son-in-law patted backs. Questions were flung around and the family, reunited, as they walked off towards the exit.

The family was speaking American English. The scene was so familiar to me, I wanted to cry.

The daughter made aliyah, maybe a few years ago. She met another Anglo oleh and they decided to literally build a bayit ne’aman b’Yisroel. Her parents had either never been to Israel or had visited only once or twice before she made aliyah; they are still a bit awkward about coming here. But they come – maybe once every other year when their adult children don’t visit the States.

The woman reminded me of my own mother so much, and the daughter was all me. I’m not alone in this world of aliyah; I never thought I was but sometimes it’s hard to remember, even when surrounded by other olim.

I held back my tears and turned back to the sliding doors, waiting for my mom and already smiling.

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