So, it's certainly been a long while since I've posted and I've missed noticing interesting things in everyday life. Well, at least I've missed writing about them. When you are shlepping five children under the age of nine across the world for two weeks, there isn't always a lot of time to admire things. And what a trip it was.
We certainly enjoyed seeing our families and getting to reconnect with parents, grandparents, cousins and more. We had a wonderful time in both L.A. and San Diego.
The flights, on the other hand, were not exactly easy. Two hours before leaving for America, our two year old managed to fall off of the couch and crack a tooth. Picture blood everywhere, a screaming two year old and a plane to catch. It wasn't a pretty scene. I rushed him to the neighborhood dentist where he was declared fit to fly - although not fit to suck his thumb or eat solid foods for three weeks. As such, Eliav had a miserable flight to the States, with no way to sooth himself and no medicine that seemed to take away the pain.
We figured, after surviving that flight, that nothing could top it. But, of course, the flight back did. During the return flight, while I juggled our one year old who refused to sleep for more than five seconds at a time, Josh was busy tackling (literally) the two year old who was throwing packaged pretzels at sleeping passengers and screaming at the top of his lungs.
At one point, as I retreated to the back of the plane to look for an escape route, a woman was standing near the back cabin. She approached me, in my haggard and completely overwhelmed state, and said, "I've been admiring you and your children. What lovely kids you have and what a beautiful family." I must have laughed, or cried, or indicated in some way the difficulties that we were having, because she suddenly said, "Let's pray." The next thing I knew, she was bowing her head and saying, "Lord, please give this woman the strength to care for her five beautiful boys. It's not an easy journey she's got Lord. Give her patience and help her to get through the flight and to enjoy her time with her boys." She went on and on, and I stood there in awkward disbelief. It's not often that you get a Christian woman on a plane talking to the Lord for your benefit. I was a bit dumbfounded, and unsure whether to say "Thank you" or "Amen" or something else when she finished.
Eventually, I returned towards my seat to find that Eliav had taken up my seat and his. Nowhere to sit. I turned around and crashed into Yehuda's seat (who knows where he was), only to be suddenly confronted by the 20something year old guy sitting in Yehuda's row.
"You know what you need?" He began.
You've got to be kidding, I thought to myself. Another one? What is this - an infomercial or something?
"Yeah, I know what I need. I need sleep!" I replied, in a rather snippy voice.
"No," he continued. " You need Emuna (faith)."
Ok - I thought to myself; where are the cameras? This has got to be a joke.
"No, actually," I continued. "I haven't slept for the 12 hours of this flight yet, and I need SLEEP."
And then, he proceeded to pull out a book called The Garden of Emunah and to explain to me how it would solve my problems.
I wasn't sure whether to laugh, punch him, or throw him the baby and tell him to take THAT Emunah and see how he liked it. He seemd to get the picture and stopped offering me further advice.
I had a few reactions immediately after these encounters, and more as I've retold this crazy story. They are as follows.
1. Only on a plane going to Israel would you get encounters of this sort! I knew, with these people on board, that I was certainly heading back home - to the Holy Land.
2. It's amazing how much people in Israel care about each other. On the flight to America we definitely garnered attention - but it was hostile attention. Here, I encountered people who were truly trying to help my journey - even if they were doing it in ways that I found unusual.
3. With time, I've come to think that maybe, just maybe Hashem was having fun with me on the flight and was trying to reassure me. A few people have heard this story and remarked, "Oh my gosh - that is just amazing how Hashem was sending you a message and trying to get you to relax and to hear the prayers that he was sending your way." While I thought these people were totally crazy at the time, the story is so eccentric as to make you stop and think. Two people - back to back - throwing themselves at me to discuss how I could make it through the trip with Gd's help? Interesting...to say the least.