Sorting Out Priorities
It has been over a month since I have posted on this blog. So many things have happened. We just yesterday returned from our "vacation" to Florida, for our biggest family event since my eldest daughter's wedding. My only sister, my niece and her new husband, also flew down from New York for this event. What was the occasion? Our eldest grandson, who has Down Syndrome, became a Bar-Mitzvah. But this was only the tail end of the entire three months of family activities.
First, I don't even remember if I wrote about my daughter's visit to the States. I might have mentioned it in a previous post, but now, let me elaborate: my daughter was invited by the JDC (Joint Distribution Committee) to speak at their board meeting in New York. They bought her ticket to the States, with a return to Israel in January, in their kindness, allowing her to visit her family in Colorado and in Florida in addition to her sister, aunt and cousin in New York.
How did this happen? It's fortuituous, how a door closes and another opens. Some would call it serendipity, others, hashgachah pratit--Divine Providence, if you will. My daughter began volunteering, for as long as she felt up to it and could control her pain, at the Center for Independent Living (scroll down to the one in Tel-Aviv), nicknamed for it's acronym, in Hebrew: CIL (pronounced "seel"). She did everything she could there, from empathizing with the members, who are disabled from a myriad of reasons--CP, vehicular and other accidents, deafness, blindness, paraplegia-- to name just a few--to advising, connecting and managing their computer network, troubleshooting problems, filing, doing office paperwork, and assisting the director as well as members. She has always been feisty and socially outgoing, and being active in the center helped her forget, for a while, her pain and disability. She could focus on something worthwhile outside of herself, and it gave her life a new purpose.
Then one day, the JDC sent a delegation to determine future fundraising efforts to assist the Center, and she was asked, before their arrival, to speak--as she is American and her English is native, and she could relate to them in a more personal way. She prepared her little speech, and was a knockout. The delegates asked her if she was a "professional motivational speaker!" She answered that no, she wasn't, but did have some acting experience, which is true: she was always had a 'dramatic' personality, with histrionic tendancies (!), and had also acted in several JCC and school productions as a student.
Fast forward to the JOINT, as it is called, buying her ticket to the United States, to speak at their board meeting in New York, and other places as well. She arrived in October, was with us for a month in her old room-turned-guest-room-back-to-Rambo's-room for the duration. While here, she told her story at two Jewish schools, both of which she had attended in elementary school. She spoke to the High School divisions.
All three of us, my D. H., Rambo, and myself--left for Florida on December 5th for her nephew--our grandson's Bar Mitzvah. She is now in New York with her older/middle sister, spending some time before they fly her to San Diego for her next speaking engagement.
Here is a video discussing some of the good that CIL in Tel Aviv (founded in conjunction with B'Kol, an organization for the hearing impaired) is doing for its members.
The transit wheel chair which we bought for her is still in her room. The toboggan/sled which we bought for her to help her pull herself up and slide down the stairs is still downstairs in the living room. I miss her.