For the first time in five years, my children and grandchildren are in one place – our son arrived last week for a three week visit with us and his sisters.

This is not news – this happens every day – families split up, siblings don’t see each other, blah blah blah, they reunite, cousins are awkward, then get to like each other, then can’t stop crying when they have to separate again.

Since we made aliyah 18 months ago, we have been incredibly happy with our decision except for one huge element – missing our son in America.  Without him and his family, we are not complete, and our hearts ache with longing for them.

But more importantly than our missing him, it’s the siblings being separated that has bothered us. After all [morbid thought alert!] we won’t be here forever and they will “be all they have” to use the age-old phrase [as in “Stop fighting – one day you’ll need each other!”]

My kids have a “Whatsapp” group and just hearing them gush excitedly about being in touch with each other makes me both happy and despondent.  Is this all their relationship will consist of in the future?  Whatsapp conversations?

So you can imagine our glee to see all six of our children (we don’t call our inlaw children “inlaws” – they are ours, we just didn’t raise them) talking, laughing, and kidding around is pure joy.

My first thought, and this has become my mantra in the past ten years or so, is to thank God.  Not just in my head, but (please don’t call the men in the white coats after reading this) I actually sit down and talk to Him – yes, out loud, so deal with it.  I thank Him for what we have, knowing that without Him nothing happens.

See,I trained myself, years ago, to appreciate the good moments.  After going through several family crises, and of course just plain getting older and maybe a tad wiser, I realized that there ARE great, fantastic, amazing moments every single day.  Like when everyone is quiet, playing nicely, the house is clean, and the food is cooked – and I don’t let that go by.  I try to stop, recognize it and appreciate it.  We often focus on what is wrong, and what is right slips away, as does our chance for a moment of pure joy.

So for these three weeks I am watching and kvelling (such a good word), soaking in every second. And thanking God quite a lot.  I know that times of happiness are gifts from Him and have to be savored and appreciated and recognized.  Only when I do that can I have the strength to handle the bad stuff.

The capacity to “enjoy the moment” is also a gift from God – he made us capable of doing that. So treasure the gift and treasure your moments of joy, and thank Him when you get the chance.  He’s listening.  And He’s waiting to hear from you.