One of my favorite things, on the days I pick you up from maon (daycare), I love walking up the stairs to the second floor and before there’s any way you know it’s me you come running. Or do I have distinctive footsteps? Or do you do that to everyone until you finally get it right?
And then there are the days you play it cool, too cool, and put on a show of whining and crying that I’m there and you’re torn about leaving all the kids you’ve been pushing around the gymboree.
Pushing yourself around is something you’ve been doing more. No one is going to put baby in a corner of calling baby ‘baby’. So yes, I need to stop.
You’ll get dressed in your brother’s pants if you damn well please.
You’ll help do the dishes no matter how much more of a mess that makes.
You will sort the silverware while my back is to you as I’m trying to finish work, and by sort the silverware I mean take everything out, lick some of it, and put it back.
You also will take care of all the baby dolls in the house. With blanket wraps, stroller pushes, the occasional toss.
But you will.
As of today I have spent a third of my life living as an expat, having made the choice to leave what I knew and start over somewhere else, with specific goals and ideology fueling the decision. And 11 years later I really don’t have much to complain about, which I appreciate is incredibly fortunate.
Sure, over a decade later taxi drivers still balk at the fact I left New York City. Even other olim balk at the fact I left New York City. But I maintained during year one and I maintain now that I was born in the wrong city and it took me (only) two decades to find the right place to grow, breathe, build, and live.
The one thing I tell people and grows truer every day is that the cost of leaving family never goes down; it gets more and more taxing as you build a career, settle with a partner, have another kid, watch your siblings and parents move on without you.
For myself, I made the right decision 11 years ago and it set my life on a course I’m proud of. Not all my goals have been met yet and the ideology that fuels my perspective and life has transitioned. And no matter where I am, I always feel like an outsider and, oddly, that’s where I’ve realized I operate most naturally.
But I’m happy feeling as natural as I can as an inside-outsider here in Israel rather than an inside-outsider back in New York.