August at Home

During the month of August, whenever I get on the phone and am speaking with another parent – whether of small children or bigger children, the first question after the greeting is most likely, “So, how are you surviving?” No, it’s not another kassam rocket attack nor is it an existential reference. It is the period known as the Three Weeks (not to be confused with the three weeks of mourning leading up to Tisha B’Av) when all the kids are on vacation. If you have little kids, your pre-school ended August 8 and will only start again September 1 (which for us is really September 2, because they only go for two hours on the first day “to get acclimated”). If you have older kids, most of the summer camps have finished. Not to mention that it is HOT HOT HOT here (the hottest summer on record for 65 years)

Ideally, I should have gotten on the plane and taken the kids to more temperate Cleveland, Ohio, to take refuge with the grandparents. But that didn’t work out this summer.

To be honest, I actually don’t mind this time. I call it forced time with your kids. I hear from the pre-school teachers about my son’s day – and now I really experience for myself. We make playdates with other kids, and we spend entire days together. I get to know him all over again – figure out what he’ll actually eat (during the year, I’m not stressed about dinner because I know he gets a heavy lunch at pre-school). We have friends over or go to the park and I see how he shares (or doesn’t), plays nicely (usually), and how he generally tries to make friends (or push the boundaries) with the other kid. And, most of all, we just get to enjoy being at home. Life is so busy and so running around, and this is a society where people are always trying to occupy their children — sometimes it is just so wonderful to discover your home, enjoy all of the things that you have, and also realize what you don’t really play with – we’ve made a few trips to the donation box this summer. We’ve baked together. We put on puppet shows together. We read books.

So, I want to thank the Israeli school system for forcing me to be creative and plan these few weeks for my son. For forcing me to spend way more time than we spend together during the year. For helping me to get re-acquainted with my child and the core of who he is.

I do realize that not every parent can do this. There are a lot of kids who do spend their time at an August camp or with their grandparents or the nanny. And I am working during this time, so there has been babysitter time. It’s not easy to find the perfect balance (Is it ever?)

I don’t know if this is an “Israel” thing or a general human thing. But, in any case, it’s important, and it’s my life now, and this is my blog. And I imagine there are lots of people out there in the same situation. We have to cherish every moment with our kids because we all know this time goes so fast.

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