The Crunch family is finally back from our August 2009 American odyssey, and in the throes of jetlag. After many adventures and WAAAAYYYY too much together time as a family, the Crunch girls are delighted to be back at school. (There are no words to describe how delighted their mother is; it’s times like these where I look at my homeschooling friends and wonder how they manage it.)
It was great to see America again. Listening to a drash by my rav on Shabbat morning in Newton, sitting again with the same women I sat with for eight and a half years, and having the Cap’n’s birthday meal with the Usual Suspects (with whom we celebrated birthdays every year before making aliyah), topped off with a J.P. Lick’s ice cream cake for dessert, was heaven. This visit we focused less on sightseeing and more on reconnecting with old friends, some of whom we actually met in Israel over a decade ago, meeting friends’ new babies, and showing our kids a few once-familiar sights again. (The Boston Children’s Museum is completely different from what it was before.)
We saw our families too, drinking in the green, mountainous landscape of southern Vermont (and being feasted upon by mosquitoes, black flies, and no-see-’ems) with my parents. Beans learned to ride a bicycle, Bill began clapping and waving, and the Crunch children glued themselves to their cousins for a fortnight. We shopped at outlets and gorged ourselves on fresh corn and produce from a local farm. We stocked up on maple cream (which we smear on challah for special occasions). We swam in a nearby lake and had a bonfire at my sister’s house (built in 1807, with the old brick kitchen oven intact except for the bricks removed to make room for a small modern range, original stenciling on the walls, and my old dining room table and chairs—Martha Stewart, eat your pretentious little heart out). The kids went blueberrying with my parents and we had blueberry pancakes one morning. My mother made homemade ice cream. The Cap’n and I finally saw “Napoleon Dynamite,” buying us a little cultural capital with my niece and nephews. (I learned from this movie that “chicks like guys with skills: numchuk skills, bow-hunting skills, computer hacking skills.”) We saw it rain…more than once. It was beautiful.
We topped off the visit with a trip to Niagara Falls with the Crunches, Sr. Bill wasn’t impressed with the Maid of the Mist; he’d rather have been sitting on a bench nursing. But it was amazing being on a boat surrounded on three sides by walls of roaring, falling water. And the next day we took them to an amusement park where they were amused by all the rides, and I was amused watching them be amused.
It wasn’t fun being the designated packer for a family of six, especially when we checked four bags leaving Israel and eleven coming back (and the shopping on this trip was much more restrained than on our last visit to the U.S.). But we had a wonderful time, the girls are all set for clothes for the next year (and then some), I’m set for DVDs (a few dozen, which should do me very well for the next few months), we’ve got some great pictures and videos, and we’re back in our own beds.
The one thing that has eluded me for a month has been sleep. Jetlag getting to the U.S., kids up at dawn stampeding across wooden floors, few opportunities to nap, and now jetlag again. But, as the Cap’n likes to say, “sleep makes me irritable.”
It’s good to be back.