I am a grown-ass woman.
I’m 33 and 11 months old. (My birthday is July 30th, and I love Blanton’s, and Amazon.com. #JustSaying.)
I have two children. (The “baby” will be going into first grade this September.)
But, my dad’s visiting me in Israel right now, which means I’ve turned into a 14 year old.
I know it’s, like, totally irrational, but I’ve spoken with other people about this, and they agree: It doesn’t matter how wonderful and accomplished and brilliant our parents are — (and believe you me, my dad is wonderful and accomplished and brilliant!!!) — and it doesn’t matter how old WE are, either — there’s something about OUR parents that bring out that angsty and embarrassed side of us — someone else’s parents could be doing the EXACT SAME thing and it wouldn’t even register as a blip on the radar, but as soon as it’s OUR parents, we’re DYING.
“Daaaaaaaaaaaaaad, come onnnnnnn stop saying ‘shalom’ to everyone.”
“Dad, please don’t start singing the Israeli National Anthem every time we pass a group of soldiers!”
“OMG, do you have to BREATHE so loudly?”
I wasn’t even aware that I was acting like a 14 year old until I started googling “Body piercings” and “Israel” while my dad ordered coffee for us, and chocolate milk for my kids. (&$#$#df does he have to say “thank you!” so much!?!?!?)
“I think I’ll get something pierced next week,” I said out loud after he had ordered.
“Stop acting like a 14 year old just because i’m in town,” my dad said (while BREATHING loudly.)
But that’s the fun of it — If I’m going to sit here DYING inside while my dad says “shalom” to random strangers, and SALUTES every time he sees a soldier, and FREAKING CHEWS HIS FOOD (OMG!), I should at least get to say stuff that’ll make HIM cringe, too.
And even though my dad isn’t the problem — HE isn’t treating me like a child — there’s this girl locked inside me who once wore too much black eye shadow and plucked her eyebrows way too thin, who needs to prove that she’s grown up, that she’s INDEPENDENT, that her skin is her own, and not her parents.
(Yeah, real mature.)
And that’s when it happened — in between googling piercing places and tattoo parlors, I was looking at the news:
To be more specific, in the very spot I pass once a week. In the very spot where I sometimes stop and drink pomegranate juice.
NOW: I’m a grown-ass woman. I’ve chosen to live in a country with very real challenges. And I’ve chosen through my work to take on some of these challenges.
I looked up at my dad, sitting in front of me, reading a copy of Economist that he brought all the way from the US (Cover story: “LOSING THE MIDDLE EAST: Why America must not abandon the region.”)
And I knew THIS new headline would make him cringe.
Actually, this would make him scared. For me, for his grandchildren, and for this country that he loves, too.
And I know my dad is a grown-ass man, and he can take it. But I look at my kids (who are sitting next to us, each blowing bubbles in their chocolate milk). My sweet kids (who will one day be 14 and awful) but who I will always love with a fierceness that can bring down the sky… and my heart lurches for them, and then lurches even further while I think about how my father must feel wanting to protect me.
So I close the browser tab, and click the link to the body piercing shop in Rehovot, two towns over:
“Ok dad. Which nose ring should I get? A hoop or a stud?”