I should begin with the most exciting, but if I do, it will overpower all else. But then again, I guess that's the way these things are. So let me go straight to it.
The story I have to tell, can best be told on Facebook. On his page, the posts are in Hebrew; on her page, they are in English. In both pages (and mine) the message is the same. A joining of two worlds, two families. Some long time ago, an amazing young woman decided to move to Israel and googled to find blogs of others who had done the same.
Somehow - perhaps by the very Hand of God...she found my blog. I can search back in old emails to find the first time she wrote to me, the first answer I gave her. Somehow, it became a connection in which I encouraged her to do something very hard, something I had never had to do.
I moved to Israel with a husband and three small children, very much in love with my family, my life, and a commitment to build everything here as we had started to do there. It was harder for her - because she was coming alone and without a family. It might be easier, I think I wrote to her, because she didn't have to uproot children, but like us, she was leaving behind parents and grandparents and siblings who love her dearly. We had each other; she would have so much less.
So she moved to Israel and we fell in love with her the first time she came to our house. My youngest daughter had a new older sister - one who seems to have infinite patience. Lauren came to Aliza's birthday party and helped deal with 20 little girls and keep them entertained, while I was ready to collapse from the sheer noise and excitement. She's around the same age as my oldest daughter - and there too, it was an instant hit. Separate from us, Lauren goes to them; Amira talks to her. My older daughter finally has the sister I couldn't give her, in addition to the younger sister I did. Lauren is the same age and so they share this connection. As much as Amira adores Aliza (and in reverse), they are not contemporaries. Amira is now married and has a baby; Aliza is still excited about being a school guard for a week.
Lauren seems to have fit in with everyone (she even loves our dog). My youngest son is at that difficult age of 15 where he is finding himself - and Lauren finds patience for him too. She doesn't treat him like the troublesome younger brother and with Shmulik and Naama, there is that great connection as well. Naama and Lauren share an interest in the same field of education and helping special needs children.
But the real story, apparently, is Elie and Lauren. I'd like to say I knew all along. The truth is, I didn't know, but I hoped. They seem so similar, like so many of the same things. She accepts him as he is - for the wonder and for the faults. And on Friday, they came to our home with a birthday present for me - a mug filled with chocolate (could she be any more perfect for our family?) and a nice birthday card. The mug was a present...but the real present, said the card...is the new daughter-in-law they bring to me.
I am...beyond filled with happiness. May they grow together and build a true house in Israel. Mazel tov to my wonderful son and new daughter...
Perhaps the cutest line goes to Aliza - "Ima, we need to buy a new table." Long ago, moments after Aliza was born, I told my wonderful husband that "my table is full" - this was, I knew, what God had intended for us. It seems that I underestimated God and my table. So, I'll add another blessing here as well - please God, please continue to bless my table and may it never be fully full. Thank you for adding three more precious children to my family - Haim and Naama and now Lauren.
And to Lauren's family - mazel tov and thank you. I hope you'll love Elie as much as we love Lauren and that we will all share many, many happy times together.