Searching for Moments
While Elie was in the army, I often drove him to and from the base. At times, much to the dismay of other members of our family, I drove long distances to make Elie’s commute easier or faster. Mostly, I was going in that direction anyway…sort of. I might switch the days to accommodate his schedule or shift the hours, but for the most part, I was going that way anyway. Except, of course, when I wasn’t.
The advantages for Elie were clear to everyone. The advantages to me, were obvious to me. I had precious moments with Elie and long talks about what was happening to him, what he was feeling, where he was heading. Since he left the army, those talks still happen, but are often interrupted by others or simply by life. Tonight, Elie came down in shorts with his iPod Shuffle. I had bought him (and Shmulik) these wonderful tiny little devices that stored hours of music for long bus rides and, at least since the army, for running.
Elie did a lot of running in the army, less since he got out. Tonight, the air is amazingly wonderful here in our desert home and so Elie decided to take a run. Maale Adumim means red hills or heights. The city is perched on the top of several mountains, going down the sides of some. We live near the bottom of one of these hills so to go anywhere begins with a climb.
I offered to drive him to the top of the hill – about a mile or so away. The advantage to him is that it puts him on the ring – the ring is a huge round circle off which all the individual neighborhoods, including ours, branch off. The ring is relatively flat – all other neighborhoods go up or downhill off the ring. Elie immediately agreed that this would let him run further because he wouldn’t be fighting uphill.
I drove him and as we went, he began talking about this week’s schedule, when he’d like to borrow the car, etc. He’s started learning math and physics and we talked about the courses he hopes to take in the Fall. When I got to the top of the hill, I pulled to the side to let him off. We talked for a few minutes before he got out and crossed the street to begin to run.
As he took off with a grace that comes with youth, I realized that I’d missed these moments when it was just him and me and his thoughts. We talk…but this was nice.
Very sweet story, and I can identify with it entirely! Quality time with our kids can sometimes be hard to come by. Whenever our son Daniel came to visit from his home in DC, I always asked him to walk with me…that enabled us to catch up…him to talk, me to listen! Now he is in Jerusalem, so those special times of bonding will be difficult. Each time we visit though, I’m going to suggest LONG walks through the beautiful Jerusalem neighborhoods.. Shavuah Tov to you all! Jan
Secret that Eli(e) isn’t going to tell you, because I wouldn’t say it to my parents– it’s just one of those things we (kids) don’t really say because it opens up a certain vulnerability that we don’t want to admit we have: despite being technically grown-ups, we still need you (parents) and value what you have to say as long as it’s not forced on us.
But those times that you (parents) give us (kids) rides and there’s no pressure like you just say, “Hey, want a ride?” just to make our lives easier even though we could be fine without it– those are the best times for conversations that we remember. We might not remember what we talked about, but just having the conversations is what we appreciate. And we actually listen despite the “Imma/Abba/Mom/Dad!” and eye-rollings.