I arrived in the US on Friday, will stay in the Northwest for a little over two weeks. I left my husband and three out of four boys in Israel and came here to be with our oldest son who stayed in the United States in college, and to participate in the Jewish Book Festivals, in Seattle, Washington, and in Vancouver, British Columbia.
It was very hard for me to leave my family behind, and yet, I was so excited that I had the privilege of traveling all the way to the other side of the world to see my eldest son, kiss his beautiful cheeks and just give him a big hug. I missed him so much.
He drove five hours just to be with me for the weekend. He picked me up from the airport, and I was surprised to see how he’s changed in the last couple of months, since I last saw him. He’s matured. Is this something you really can see from the outside? I suddenly saw him as an adult. I am wondering how this happened so fast.
I later learned he is indeed very independent. These last couple of months have taught him that there are so many things he can do by himself. Yes, he does miss us very much, but he knows how to handle life as an adult, be responsible for school work, laundry, bank, etc. I was lucky to be able to spoil him this weekend, and give him a little sense of home he’s missed so much.
In addition to being with my son, I managed to participate in book reading and book signing in Seattle area, and also gave a lecture about my book, Daughters of Iraq, in the synagogue where I’m still a member. I must say I feel so much at home here. There are so many people I love that live here. After all, I spent a great chunk of my life here. Two of our kids were born here. I have so many memories from our life here, and I will always be thankful for that.
The lecture and book reading went well. I was especially so excited to see familiar faces at both places. It felt so good. I felt loved and appreciated, and I am so thankful to those great people who helped me feel this way.
We are getting so close to Thanksgiving. I think that this is a brilliant holiday. In Judaism we have Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. That special day makes you think about life, and the way you treat God and people in your life. Thanksgiving is not a religious holiday, and you really do not need to keep your stomach empty just to be able to appreciate everything and everyone you have in your life. But I see some similarities between both holidays.
We get some reminding of what is important in life. In Thanksgiving you do feed your stomach, unlike Yom Kippur… but just like Yom Kippur, you get together with special people in your life and get a little remainder of what is important in your life.
I find it interesting and important to have those remainders in life, although the turkey tradition takes a little out of this nice holiday. It is a little weird for me to see all the festivities around one poor turkey…
I am writing now from Eugene, Oregon. I got here a few hours ago, visiting my son in college. It is pretty nice in here, although it is a little chilly. We had an early dinner (or a late lunch) and I enjoyed his company. He then took me to the dorms, and all I can say about it is that it smells in there… He is happy though, and this is all that matters to me.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Be well, healthy and happy, and just enjoy all the good little and big things in life.
Revital Shiri-Horowitz is the award-winning author of Daughters of Iraq, a novel based on the true life events of her family’s exodus out of Iraq to Israel in the 1950s to escape persecution.