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Sunday, February 08, 2004

All grown-up, and nowhere to go

In the pantheon of holidays celebrated here in Israel, one of the most beloved among children is Tu B’Shvat. The easy explanation for this holiday is to call it the Jewish Arbor Day…but it goes much, much deeper than that. Anyone interested in the five-minute explanation can send me an e-mail.

While schools are technically in session today, almost nobody is attending since most of the youth groups around the country have planned all-day outings. The purpose of this un-official-day-off-from-school is to trek around the country planting trees. Hiking and tree planting are both national obsessions…so this particular holiday strikes a resonant chord with kids of all ages.

Ari and Gili have been looking forward to this event for quite awhile now, and last night the anticipation reached a fever pitch. Unfortunately, the fever also reached Ariella in a more tangible form.

Around dinnertime, she was complaining about a sore throat and some non-specific aches. A couple of minutes with the thermometer under her tongue and the verdict was in: 102.5° F !

Now, I'm 42 years old (cheeses, I hate the way that sounds!) and can still clearly remember the bitter disappointment of a 3rd grade field trip that I missed due to fever. No amount of real fun will ever hold a candle to the fun I imagined my classmates were having. Knowing this, and yet powerless to convey my empathy in any meaningful way, I simply hugged my little girl until the sobs subsided (a long, long time).

This morning, Ari came downstairs with flushed cheeks and feverish eyes, and made an Academy Award-worthy attempt to convince me that a medical miracle had occurred in her room during the night. The ghost of my own missed field trip had me secretly wishing along with her for the mercury to stay down. But, no amount of body-English with the thermometer could belay the numbers; 101.5° F.

Ironically, I could deal with the fact that she probably has Strep. But, I resented having to be grown-up, and hated the sound of my voice telling her she couldn't go on her trip. I joke all the time with my wife that I like playing the 'good-guy' (“Hey… I’d let you go [big shrug – palms up in the air], but mom says no.”)…but in this case, I seriously wanted to sit down and kick and scream at the unfairness of it all.

Sometimes it sucks being a grown-up. [sigh]

Posted by David Bogner on February 8, 2004 | Permalink


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