I might win the proudest mom award. We did it! We made it to the finish line! Our cake party countdown is at zero. Today was the last day of school. One year down. I almost don’t know how to express my emotions. I can not really believe we made it through this tough year. There have been so many obstacles and hardships to overcome. There have been so many new things to learn, not to mention a whole new language and with Hashem’s help and guidance, we did it! The truth is, I do not even know all the things my girls have accomplished on a daily basis this year. In fact, as they unpacked their bags over this past week, I noticed whole binders and workbooks full of work completed IN HEBREW! They really learned math, science, torah, halacha, and so much more. They really did real school work. They took real tests. They sat through real classes every day. And they did such an amazing job. Their report cards reflect their effort and we are so proud of them.
At dinner tonight we spoke about the amazing things we loved about this year and the things we hoped to work on for next year. I was so impressed by how many positive comments my daughters had. They were proud of their accomplishments. They recognized that there is more to work on, and that our transition is not complete, but we all noted how far we have come. One of our daughters reminisced about how she felt in the beginning of the school year. She remembered crying after the first few days of school and doubting if she was going to make it to the end of the year. But, here she was sitting at the dinner table, looking back on the things she learned and the friends she made. She not only made it, but surpassed all our expectations, and succeeded in so many ways.
As we sat around the table and drank petel, I could not help but notice how much we have grown as a family. It’s in the small things like enjoying Israeli grape juice and using Hebrew words for everyday items. It even trickles down to the playlist we listen to- there are way more Israeli songs than American ones at this point. My kids actually search for the songs using Hebrew words.
On shabbat, my daughter expressed how she did not like that a girl in her class called her a new olah this week. Surprised by her complaint, I asked her why that was so upsetting. Her answer was awesome. She felt that although she still had things to work on, she was part of the class and did not feel like she was new anymore. After all, she had been in the class for the whole school year. Although I do not share her same sentiments, I was so happy to hear that she felt like she was integrating .That has been one of our primary concerns. For me, I feel my new olah status every time we have to do something new. Each first reminds me how much we have to learn about the new systems and culture. Although we have done so many firsts already this year, there are many more in our future. I assume I will feel my olah status indefinitely. But, I am so proud and relieved that my kids do not share those feelings.
Tonight, we crossed off the last day on our countdown. It has been a long and windy road since we started counting down 249 days ago. The invitations for our cake party have been sent out, and we are so excited to celebrate with so many close friends and family that have helped us through this crazy year. We could not have done all that we did without the support and love of our amazing support system.
Our original idea for the cake party was that after a whole school year, the Hebrew language and the new school experience will be much easier and feel like a piece of cake compared to the daunting feelings we had back in September. One of my daughters explained the cake party to someone a few days ago and she said that we are celebrating that learning Hebrew is as sweet as piece of cake. Either way, BH, we feel like we have accomplished our goals, and we are ready for our cake party. Now, let the baking begin!