In order to get the best seats in the house (or the outdoor amphitheater as it were), you need to set out a blanket e-a-r-l-y. So early, in fact, that when I did my first round of carpools this morning at 7:20 there were already blankets out. It’s a bizarre etiquette, this whole seat-saving, blanket-placing Yom HaZikaron/Yom HaAtzmaut ceremony-ing. It’s counter-intuitive to be sad/happy to be kind to all as long as you don’t sit in my seat. It overwhelms me.
We put a blanket down. We’re notoriously known (just in our own family lore) for getting the worst seats possible (this year we are sitting directly behind the AV computer tent), but it never really matters. It’s always the same. A little freezing. A little overcrowded. And just wonderful. We’re sad as a community. We laugh together at “inside jokes” that we either get or don’t really get but try really hard to. We shower little kids with love as they dance and sing their hearts out.
When our kids were little, there was The Song — the quintessential Israeli song, written in some long ago era of idealism where we put on our kova tembels, took our backpacks and hiked the land or bought a shovel and cleared a swamp. The 4 and 5 year olds would belt out the song in our makeshift Carnegie Hall and we would jostle for the right angle to take the perfect picture to record this moment as proof for the immigrant in us — we have arrived. Look, our kid sings.
There are just a million of these moments, where we proudly or tacitly announce our arrival. Some are breathtaking and some are heartbreaking. But it starts here with our 4 year old singing off key.
This year the first of our 4 year old singers got her first call-up to the army. We are long past the days of afternoon rehearsals in the park. And it passes in a heartbeat. But we’ve got our blanket and we’ll all squish onto it and watch other people’s four year-olds (who we love so so much) sing and sing. We have arrived.
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