family, family life, Israel

My House, the Accordion

My house is an accordion. After so many years of having little feet, and little shoes, and big noises around, we have a very quiet house during the week. And ‘during the week’ is the key phrase here.

With two sons in the army and three in sleep-in high schools, that leaves me, Josh and Yakir in the house most of the week. And while Yakir has a BIG personality, there is only so big (and noisy) one personality can be. It’s been a big change, but one we are slowly adapting to and enjoying. It means we have more quiet time and more one-on-one time with the youngest guy.

But it also means our house is an accordion. On Thursdays, the first rumbles begin as this kid returns from the army, or that kid comes home early from school. And then on Friday, the house refills with backpacks and shoes, overflowing laundry and noise.

And we love it. We love every minute of it. We’ve started to remember not to book too much on Friday or Sunday morning so that we can be around to greet the kids on Friday and to bring them back to their many posts on Sunday morning.

Recently, Yakir and I went out to ice cream in the afternoon. And as I was mentally checking in on where each family member was, I realized that they were literally all over the country.

I got onto our family Whatsapp group and sent out a picture of Yakir eating ice cream in Gush Etzion with the caption, “We are all over the place today! Send a picture and say hi!”

And we all had fun for the next hour. The 18 year-old sent a pin from his location in Atzmona, near the Egyptian border, as he checked out a post-high school learning program; the oldest sent a picture from bed on his army base (clearly showing that he’d had an all-nighter); the 16 year-old sent a picture from his classroom, in the middle of a lecture; Josh sent one from his office in Jerusalem; and the 14 year-old sent one from his bus ride, on the way back from a school trip to the Dead Sea.  As a new recruit, the second son sent no update, since he’s not in charge of his phone time.

It was a cute, quick check-in which really illustrates our lives at the moment. The stages of parenting are fascinating. When the kids were young, I couldn’t even find five seconds to go to the bathroom by myself; now, I have to find ways to check in with them during the week and to get them to respond! I find myself naturally thinking of ways to draw them back in; to keep them connected with each other and with us while they explore the world and disappear into adventures all their own. It becomes a tricky balance of allowing for their independence while letting them know you are thinking about them. And of course, the worries as a parent never really diminish, even as the accordion plays.

I am grateful for Whatsapp and for children who are willing to play my games and to wave to each other (virtually) during the week. And the weekends…well, I can’t wait each week for that accordion to widen, bringing at least some of them home for a bit. Until it starts all over again…

1 thought on “My House, the Accordion

  1. When you’re used to a house full of activity and voices, it must seem so strange to
    hear only one child (even if that is Yakir) most of the week. Your stories are so family oriented and beautiful, Romi, and I always await the next contribution.

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