Eitan’s Trip to Mecca

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Let’s just be fabulously honest with one another for a moment: vacations are ridiculous. The only thing standing between you and total relaxation on the hammock in the backyard overlooking the Pacific Ocean are five small children who want to be entertained constantly, fed constantly and then entertained some more.

San Diego really is so very beautiful but kosher food is sorely lacking (David actually had someone say to him, “well, you’re from Cleveland, you guys are spoiled with all your kosher food up there!” We just miss takeout!). The only kosher restaurant was training an entire new kitchen staff our first day here and then was closed the following day because it needed to be kashered from top to bottom (not so very reassuring). We’ve been frequenting the supermarket with a large kosher section only to watch in horror (really, horror) as they started loading up their shelves with Pesach foods. Macaroons in January is just not what God intended.

We are still wonderfully jetlagged and wake up each morning between 4-5:30 am. We then run like crazy and crash out by 8:30. This is the first night that I haven’t fallen asleep with the kids.

But, there are old friends who came down from LA to see us and my kids just fell in love with their son. Channan, in fact, cries at least once a day missing Baby Ilan. He even wrote Ilan a song which he plays each day on the piano. Yummy. And there are moments that manage to shine through the pandemonium, the week of bagels and cream cheese, the meltdowns, the freak outs the delirium. That is, in fact, why the camera was invented. Because for every hundred or two hundred pictures I take each day, I can recreate vacation to be pure bliss.  Each morning (did I mention we wake up at 5 am?) we look through the pictures and retell the story of the day before leaving out the crazy. We re-imagine vacation with no sibling rivalry, no sibling torture — only love and excitement and joy.

But the camera is really the true hero of this trip for one reason: Eitan. As a family, it is widely known that Eitan hates being in pictures. We (read: I) need to beg, threaten, coax and bribe Eitan to just stand in front of the camera. He just hates it. We always talk about that dreaded slideshow at his Bar Mitzvah that will have 6 pictures on repeat again and again and again. But, no more, after this trip our slideshow is brimming with Eitan pictures. Because this trip was all about Eitan. The first ride we went on at Disneyland was Star Tours and Eitan gave us a quick crash course on all things Star Wars (he knows way more than I expected — Cloud City, huh?). As we went through the Indiana Jones ride, he was taking it all in and wrote a “report” for my dad when we got home. And then, there was Legoland, a sacred pilgrimage to the coveted Mecca of 8 year-old boys. Star Wars and Lego together. And so he smiled and smiled and smiled. And posed for pictures next to every Lego Star Wars personality out there. And suddenly vacation was perfect. Because for every cream cheese bagel we have eaten, every “he did it” and every exhausted moment David and I have endured, we now have a picture of a grinning Eitan surrounded by the things he loves most. Perfect Family Vacation (if such words can exist).

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