A professor I worked with when I was in grad school recently published a book entitled, “The Parents We Mean To Be”. I always liked that title because it brings to mind the vision we all have as parents about how wonderfully adept we will be at loving, nurturing, protecting and challenging our children. The title acknowledges our vision, but also the gap that often forms between the vision and reality.
This past weekend, I was engaged in a raucous, silly, joyful session of Israeli dancing. I was surrounded on all sides by friends I had been laughing and crying with over the course of an intense and emotional family Shabbaton. In my immediate vicinity was my family. Shira, Gabe, and David were all waving their arms, stamping their feet, and smiling right along with me. At that moment I thought, “This is it. This is the family we are meant to be.”
Being a family is hard work. There are competing needs. There are needs that go unmet. There is too little time, and too little patience, and too many pressures from the outside world. We are busy filling our roles: bread-winner, homework supervisor, hygiene enforcer, disciplinarian. It’s hard to find a way to simply be together. To connect. To have fun together.
Participating in the Tikvah Family Shabbaton gave us the space to be that family. The family that exists in my mind. My vision of what I’d like us to be… even though there is often a gap between that family and the reality of day-to-day life. Part of what created that space is the absence of the roles we have to play in “real life”. At camp, there were no meals to cook, no homework to supervise, no deadlines to meet. But that’s only part of it. At camp, we found ourselves surrounded by new friends, caring staff, and unquestioning acceptance. Heaven.
Thank you, Camp Ramah, for allowing us to be that family for a weekend.
We are connected. We are that family.
We are joyful participants. We are that family.
We are loved. We are that family
We are included. We are that family.
We are proud. We are that family.
We are that family.
We are blessed.
A special thank you to Tali Cohen– for organizing a beautiful weekend (and for sharing these beautiful photos!)