A Different Kind of Homecoming


Family road trips were a staple of my childhood. My parents, having left the city they grew up in just after their marriage, would pack us up 2-3 times a year for the 6 hour drive back to their hometown, where our grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins awaited. Inevitably as the years went by, there were fewer and fewer relatives waiting to welcome us. The older generations died, while the younger ones left to pursue educational and professional opportunities. The holiday gatherings and smachot that brought us together became less and less frequent.
So it was a BIG DEAL when last weekend, my family reunited there again for a cousin’s bar mitzvah. Most of the family, including the bar mitzvah boy, had traveled from out of town to be there. But the simcha was taking place in that city to honor and include the young man’s grandfather who is no longer able to travel himself.
Unfortunately my husband couldn’t join us for the trip, but I was still intent on going with our daughter. If you’ve traveled internationally alone with an almost toddler, you’ll understand that it’s not a mission to be entered lightly. Still I desperately wanted my daughter to meet her family, and even visions of the potential winter weather could not deter me.
Thankfully, my daughter was a trouper, and there were lots of extra helping hands. My family now has memories of a 5th generation sitting in the same seats in the same synagogue sanctuary. We have visions of another little girl being loved in the same rooms as her namesake. We have seen how a place that is so meaningful to our family become a part of the story for its newest member.
I don’t know how many more times we will travel to the place where my parents grew up. But I do know that my daughter’s life will be shaped by the time we spent there as a family. And I hope that she always has a place where she can go back to that feels like home.

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2 thoughts on “A Different Kind of Homecoming

  1. Maya says:

    What a beautiful tribute to family continuity.

  2. Marion Rosen says:

    So jealous your 5th generation was in attendance! The things we don’t realize when we’re young and making decisions that affect people who don’t exist yet…

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