Packing UP

Once again, we’re packing. We’ve been living in two countries for over 22 years now. This business of commuting between Israel and America has its joys and it has its problems. So, for example, I remember I bought ketchup and search in vain for it until the dawn strikes and I recall, ah yes, it’s in New Jersey, not in Herzliya. A minor frustration indeed unless it’s Shabbat and I really need the ketchup for the little guests who consider it a vegetable.

And then there’s the jetlag.  We experiment with different systems to beat it.  This time and the last we did stopovers in Europe, Barcelona, now Amsterdam.  We’re zonked when we get here, or there, and it has nothing at all to do with our advanced age.  We were always zonked on arrival, and for the week or more following.  The stopovers don’t seem to alleviate the problem.

Now, as we soon head back to New Jersey, I don’t look forward to the 4 a.m. wakeups there.  And actually 4 isn’t the worst. Midnight is torturous.  Do I just lay there for another 6 hours or do I do something?  Read? Write? Eat? Clean?  I just want to sleep.

Of course we will continue this routine as long as we can. Both places are home. Could I choose one over the other?  No.  Impossible.  When I visit my parent’s graves, serene here in the Herzliya Cemetery, I feel the closeness, I tell them about our lives and they listen quietly.  Very quietly.  But it is in this hallowed ground that I must deliver the message.  A granddaughter is newly married.  A grandson is newly engaged.  A great grandson expects a new sibling momentarily.  Graduations.  Many graduations from college, high school, elementary school, rabbinical school.  A son-in-law turns 60.  I am in spitting distance of 80.  I only tell them the good news.  Why should I worry them?  That continues the pattern that evolved when they were still here with us.  We chat and pray that they continue to rest in peace; and leave the stones on their graves of granite.

My parents knew most of our grandchildren.  The treasured pictures show the love.  But they did not know all.  What a loss.

And so the packing begins anew.  The departure is always poignant.  We expect to be back but, in life, one never knows.

About the Author
Rosanne Skopp is a wife, mother of four, grandmother of fourteen, and great-grandmother of three. She is a graduate of Rutgers University and travels back and forth between homes in New Jersey and Israel. She is currently writing a family history.