It’s not easy living thousands of miles and 10 time zones from family. But then no one said it was going to be. It’s not always easy to plan trips and to straddle our active (crazy) life here with the desire to visit and be part of life there. For these reasons and many more, I was incredibly grateful to have the chance to fly to LA for 5 days this week and to have early 80th birthday celebrations for both of my parents.
As I sit here jetlagged, missing my family and nursing a cold (which was NOT a fun way to fly), I wanted to recognize all of the gratitude I have. Here is my gratitude list from my trip in absolutely no order but that of my foggy mind. I’m beyond grateful that:
1. I am able to fly and have the health and the time off from work to do so.
2. Our kids were able to take care of themselves while we were away.
3. Our kids are healthy enough to allow us to leave them.
4. I have such an easy going, fun to be with 12-year-old as a travel companion.
5. I have a husband who organizes the trip from top to bottom, changes dates at the drop of a hat when I saw an opening to go a day earlier and gets everything done.
6. I have a husband who wanted to go on the trip with me and be there to celebrate my parents.
7. I could hug my parents and my brother’s family after over a year away.
8. I have healthy parents who we can celebrate! I think we will make this numbers 8 through 60.
61. I have a loving brother and sister-in-law who are incredibly accommodating, gracious hosts and always ready for a party.
62. I had a chance to spend time with my niece and nephews – not always an easy feat with their school schedules and plans.
63. I was able to give Yakir the opportunity to experience LA and to hug his grandparents after three long years away.
64. Yakir got to learn how to play pool! These are the little things that become memories as the kids age (and thanks to his uncle and cousins for being patient in teaching him).
65. Our rental car had the ‘caraoke’ feature and that we had fun rocking out with my mom.
66. When Yakir dropped his phone in the middle of a busy intersection (Pico Blvd), we were able to find the smashed phone 15 minutes later so we didn’t have to wonder what had become of it or worry that it was stolen. And we were able to put it in perspective and be grateful it was a smashed phone and not a smashed body part.
67. My aunt and uncle took the time to fly in just to see us, and give us much-needed love and time together after 3 long years!
68. My brother and sister-in-law live so close to my parents, ensuring that they can look out for them up close and be there to help with their needs.
69. Amazon offers such a quick and fun way to buy 80th birthday decorations and to be able to contribute to the celebration preparation.
70. There is a beautiful kosher restaurant in LA that was able to accommodate us for my mom’s celebration and had great service and food.
71. Rummikub enabled all of us to sit, play, laugh together and enjoy.
72. We had time for little interactions; for my dad to teach Yakir how to play the lottery (we lost) and for my mom to go makeup shopping with me (oh boy, now I have to actually use it!).
73. We had smooth travels considering that we landed in NY to the news that the FAA had shut down all domestic travel (panic!)… But it all worked out right on time.
74. We arrived home safely and I didn’t pass out on any of the flights (yep, sometimes the little and crazy things require our gratitude).
75. We had quieter moments when we had time to just sit around with the family and chat, catch up, and process current life changes.
76. We actually pulled off the surprise, bringing Yakir along as a secret. Surprise!
77. Yakir remembered that the car we rented had a frunk (front trunk) after two days when we couldn’t figure out why we kept misplacing things. Yeah, they were nicely packed in the frunk. Senior moment for his parents.
78. We finally decided on a Purim costume and managed to bring it back with us. Phew!
79. While a complete pain, travel is so easy in the modern age and I have the ability to simply jump on a plane to see my family and to return home.
80. We returned to healthy children, a (relatively) unscathed house and cars and the opportunity to dream about and plan our next trip to Los Angeles!