September 17, 2013 by Katia
On Saturday last week we’ve celebrated Yom Kippur. The Day of Atonement. Being away from home has changed the way in which I celebrate the Jewish holidays. It obliterated some family traditions and introduced confusion. This year I wanted it to really feel the way it should. I didn’t want it to be all about the fasting. I wanted it to be about soul searching and making amends.
Most of my life is spent in “conflict avoidance” mode, therefore I can tell you with almost a hundred percent certainty that I did not deliberately hurt anyone. Except.
We’re all wired differently. When I think about this the terms “civilizations clash” and “lists” come to mind. The first one is the title of a well-known and widely discussed book (which I haven’t read) and the second is a word I’ve learned in a workshop I attended ten years ago. We’ve all heard about the clash of civilizations. “Lists” carry the same destructive potential but on a smaller scale. Or maybe bigger, depends how you look at it. Lists are the many components of our mental, internal credo formulated through the values, views and perceptions passed on to us by our parents, life experiences, personal tragedies and triumphs. Civilizations have their lists too but often one civilization’s list contradict the other one’s and that is when they clash. The same thing can happen between a husband a wife who were raised to admire opposing values. Both good people who are trying to do the right thing, but were shown two very different paths to get there. So there you have it. Your very own private civilization clash.
When Four-Year-Old was born I spoke strictly Russian to him for over a year. 37 Year Old and I speak Hebrew amongst ourselves and he speaks Hebrew to both our children. When 4 Year Old started daycare his Russian vocabulary was knocked out and replaced by the English one. He still understands Russian. He understands Hebrew as well and speaks some. In referring to these languages he calls English “my language” Russian “your language” and Hebrew “Abba’s language”*.
I’m sorry for the times I’ve used the wrong dictionary, the one with my language, to figure you out, 37 Year Old.
When I was a child in Israel and spoke Russian to my family and Hebrew to the kids around me, it seemed very logical to assume that kids had a language of their own. It happened to be Hebrew.
I’m sorry I forget how to think like a child and get impatient with you more often than I should, Four Year Old.
When Four Year Old was born my life was turned upside down. I went out of my way to make things special for him. When 1 Year Old was born my life was turned upside down again, but often times when I tried to take the ‘go out of my way’ path just to make things special for him I was distracted by vigorous waving from another nearby path accompanied by ‘me, me!’.
I’m sorry I couldn’t get you to experience exclusivity, 1 Year Old.
When I left my mom, grandma and grandma’s sister behind me in Israel I was consumed with the guilt of an only child leaving the women who raised her so selflessly behind. That preoccupation did not leave much room for other thoughts, like the one about leaving another only child, my mom, to take care of two very mature ladies who have come to rely entirely, physically and emotionally, on her in the next few years.
I’m sorry I am not there doing what I’m supposed to be doing, giving back to them. Sorry I don’t send enough photos, mom.
* Abba = Dad in Hebrew
** Thank you, my friend Lizzi at Considerings for the beautiful insight in directing me to Nirvana’s All Apologies, now the post is complete.