A beautiful thing happened yesterday when I read parts of my memoir out loud to my ten year old son. It was the Avivim chapter with serious turning points. As a mother, it’s important for my son to know my story. After all, it’s his “inheritance.” He thinks of Israel as an “unsafe place” with terrorists and bombings and people killing each other and therefore, doesn’t want to go there to visit our family.
Reading the part of my story when I’m up against some serious fears that I’ve inherited from my Mom will hopefully neutralize his own “fears” and thoughts.
I read the parts of the chapter that deeply resonated for my beta readers and then read their comments.
He listened quietly and attentively. I could tell this was a genre he had never heard before. There were many levels of processing going on. If time allowed, I’m sure I could go into depth.
He saw me cry when I read those comments and how they validated my journey. but reading my story to my son came unexpectedly. It was priceless.
One beta reader said, “You have a winner here!”
One cannot take those feelings away.
This section on fear spoke most deeply to my ten-year-old son:
“Although there’s no threat of a war now, as we close in on the last ten minutes of our journey, I realize I’m up against Mom’s deep-rooted fear about Israel that is not realistic. Fear knocks on my door like an old childhood friend , a fear I inherited from Mom, but now I can see, clear as day, that I don’t want it anymore. It’s not serving me. This fear in particular of what might happen in Israel is based on media images of terrorism and bombings. It is real, but the picture the media paints is over-exaggerated. Mom would fret over a bomb exploding on this base, or alongside the border, but the chances of that happening are low, and furthermore, thinking and fretting about it all the time is pointless. People who’ve grown up here simply don’t worry about what might happen. You are cautious, but you live your life. I choose to look to these people as examples, and to separate myself from Mom’s warped picture of what life is like here. The fact I’m here, right now, submerging myself in a piece of Israeli history that I was taught to fear, is symbolic of just how much I’ve already separated from Mom in this one short year abroad.”
What do you think of this experience? Do you think it was a good thing to open up to my son in this way?