Klita (absorption)

Klita, they say, takes about two years. Until then you often think of going back to your country of origin. You often think that perhaps you made a mistake that you moved. You often compare your life here with your life in the old country. You compare prices. You compare the bureaucracy. You compare job opportunities. People back there were nicer. Life was more enjoyable. You had family and friends. Etc etc.

Our babies were born just two months ago and for them it was like arriving from another planet. They arrived not knowing the language, the customs, the non-spoken language, the values, the ropes. They didn’t know where they were going to live. They didn’t know where they would get their next meal. They didn’t know anybody. They had no friends.

So much has changed in a mere two months.

They have a place to live. It may not be what they dreamed of but they have a roof over their heads.

They don’t know if they have a family, but there are some people who are constantly hovering over them. Always the same people. Mostly there is a man and a woman who introduced themselves as mother and father, as well as some younger women who were introduced as sisters.

Apparently these people can be relied on. The babies know that these same people are here day after day, night after night. They have learned that when they cry one of them comes over fairly quickly. And when they really scream the mother comes running even if she is at the other end of the phone line.

They have learned about food and breasts and bottles and burps. They have learned about pipi, kaki and diapers. They have learned about water and baths.

They have learned about the human voice and talking and singing. They have gotten used to people smiling at them, holding them, hugging them, kissing them.

They have learned about stomach pain, colic and hunger pain. They have learned about waiting and about frustration.

They have learned about light and dark. They have learned about day and night and the sun. They have learned about electricity, radio, TV, telephones. They have learned about beds, about baby carriages, about streets and sidewalks. They have learned about cars and car seats.

For two months they suffered from culture shock. Everything was new. They hardly spoke. They were scared. They never knew what to expect next.

But in spite of the difficulties and their indecision about their move, they never said or even hinted that they want to go back to the old planet, that they are sorry that they came here.

And now, only two months after their birth, they are finally smiling. They are relaxing. They no longer fear the next moment. They have learned to trust their parents even though we can’t always help them. They are happy to be with us. They know that we like their smiles and they are rewarding us with them.

Their doubts are over. Their indecision is over. They have decided to stay. They have decided to accept us as their parents. They have decided to embrace us as their family.

The klita was a success.

About the Author
David Wolf writes about his experience of being a second-time husband and father. He has a daughter from his first marriage, and, with his second wife, has accrued three daughters, two sons-in-law, one grandchild and twin 8-year-old sons. He is a social worker in a mental health department and in private practice in Raanana.