Free Leaf

"Don't gain the world and lose your soul, wisdom is better than silver or gold..."

Location: Falls Church, Virginia, United States

I have a lot more questions than answers, but I just keep asking. I constantly want to leave, but somehow manage to stay. I am both perfectly happy and completely miserable because of it. I think I am misunderstood but that could just be a huge misunderstanding, either way I guess the best way to put it is, "I ain't often right, but I've never been wrong."


Waiting for the time when I can finally say that this has all been wonderful but now I'm on my way

I apologize for having such a one track mind lately, it seems like every other post I make is about Israel. But, I can not escape thinking about it, thinking about the conflict, the good and the bad. Even before serious fighting broke out I always followed Israeli news more closely than my local stuff but lately I find myself checking the blogs and newspapers on the hour. What I want to discuss doesn’t really have to do with what is going on there today, but somehow it is all connected.

Today my mother either bravely or foolishly mentioned the fighting to me for the first time since it broke out. She avoids conversation about Israel with me the way I avoid going clothes shopping with my sisters. Still, every once in a while she gets up the courage to mention it and the conversation is usually really short. Today’s convo went like this:

Mom: “this Hezbollah thing is ridiculous”

Leaf: “I know, it’s horrible and stupid”

Mom: “They blame the Jews for everything, everyone blames the Jews”

Leaf: “Yup, they blame us for what happens to us, what we do to others and what we had nothing to do with at all”

Mom: “And I will never see a Mel Gibson movie again, he is on my shit list”

- That was off topic, but I don’t think she had her coffee yet

Leaf: “Yeah, he messed up big time, hopefully his career is done”

Leaf: “But, don’t worry Mom, this time won’t be any different than all the others. We will win and we will survive. We are the only constant throughout history.”

Mom: “I know, it’s just so sad, if you were in Israel you would be in the army right now.”

- Technically I wouldn’t be in the army, but would be a reserve so it’s possible like other people my age I would be involved, so she is almost right.

Leaf: “I know Mom and I feel guilty that I am not there everyday.”

- Uncomfortable silence

Leaf: “Mom, I better get going, I will call you later, I love you, bye.”

It is hard for me to tell her how I really feel, there is so much going on here that I don’t want to burden her with more sorrow or fear. But when I wake up in the morning and get ready for work I often think about what is keeping me here. I knew I wanted to go to college in the states but had hoped to get back to Israel at least for a little while. That never happened for various reasons, but since college all the reasons I haven’t gone are just excuses. Sure they are valid excuses but they are running out. One of my main reasons for staying is that since my grandfather died a few years ago I did not want to miss anytime with my grandma. Being in DC with her in Florida is hard enough now that there is very little time left. My mom is currently taking care of her basically round the clock and recently asked me to find out how my job handles bereavement time. Knowing I had such little time with her left I could not have made aliyah in the past couple of years to only come home for her funeral, it would have felt wrong. But now that her life is ending and I wont feel the finality of saying goodbye to anyone for the last time I feel freer to leave. Certainly if I leave there will be goodbyes that will be forever but none of them would have to be like grandmas would have.

So, the only thing left to get over is my feeling of obligation to my mom and my sisters. Part of me worries that without me so close they will fall apart, no this is not my ego talking, I have always been the glue that holds things together. At least I have been for longer than I care to anyway and though it’s the main reason I feel I should stay its also one of the main reasons I think I should go. I want to worry about myself exclusively for a change, selfish aren’t I. There are of course other fears about leaving the only country I have ever been a resident of, the standard things like finding a job, learning a quasi-new language, making entirely new friends. All of those things are concerns but the biggest one is my family and I am just not sure how long I can go without them. It seems I need them as much as they need me.


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