Sun and Fun

Sitting along the Tel Aviv shore and sipping on mint-lemonade, the Mediterranean was mesmerizing. The sight held my attention for what seemed like hours. A sense of peace settled upon me. I was, once again, at my home away from home…a place where I can think and process.

As I people-watched, it is hard to imagine the amount of conflict this country has encountered. More importantly, the number of people who suffer at the hands of life’s challenges is staggering. On a very different and personal note, I still can’t believe my grandfather passed away six weeks ago. Then, two weeks ago, my ten-day-old grandson was hospitalized with an infection. And only yesterday, my father underwent surgery to clear a blocked artery in his arm. Health, financial, career, relationship, political, and a myriad of other issues put us to the test daily. No one is immune. Dealing with and overcoming them try our patience, understanding, and courage. Why is life so hard?

And yet, on a day like this, I am optimistic about the future; as well as grateful for the opportunities and blessings I’ve had in my life.

I also took time to reflect on International Women’s Day. This year’s theme is #BalanceforBetter. Women have always known that life is about trying to find a happy medium…balancing a work life and a home life…navigating through sickness and health…caring for one’s self, as well as others…and the list goes on. Reflecting on the lives of my great-grandmothers, grandmothers, and mother versus my own, I have been privileged to travel and work and raise kids in ways they could not. Today’s opportunities for women are leap years ahead. But, these choices have made our lives even more difficult to juggle. Pursuing and striving to “have it all” is exhausting and challenging; having it all is equally exhausting and challenging. So, how do we find the right combination…the right balance…to make our lives and the lives of our families better?

I think I’ve been sitting in the sun too long….

* * *

Today was an even better day. My niece and her family shlepped from their kibbutz near Haifa to hang out with me in Tel Aviv for the day. As part of my new “Battle the Bubbie Bulge” exercise regimen, I chased her seven, five, and two-year-old children around a park for a few hours. We climbed, jumped, ran, and skipped. (I got stuck trying to go down the kiddie slide! Thankfully the sea breezes kept my sweat under control.) It was especially fun for me to connect so quickly with little ones who don’t know me well.

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Finally, we walked along the boardwalk for a much needed lunch break. We all worked up a good appetite!

I watched everyone as we ate. This was a first for us…me being alone with them for an afternoon. I enjoyed observing the young parents and kids interact with each other. The laughter, the playful yelling, and even the few tears all came along with the right balance of love and caring. My niece and her husband have made deliberate decisions to live their lives and raise their kids a certain way; with values and integrity. I admire and respect their choices. Their future promises to be bright.

I hope our visit was the first of many. The kids were unbelievably well-mannered and behaved; a joy to be around. When the time came to say goodbye, I truly was sad to see them go. Perhaps technology will enable us to find a good balance from afar to maintain and better our relationship.

Tomorrow is a work day. I confess that I’m looking forward to it. Today wiped me out. I’m in desperate need of a hot shower and a good night’s sleep.

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