Trading Friendship for Family

January 7, 2010
Custom User Avatar
More by this author
I ripped open the door to be rewarded with the fresh Israel air. Finally I had left the airport. I jumped up and grabbed an innocent old man. “I missed you Popa,” it was the first time I could say that to my Grandpa. I was shared by my family, passed around, and hugged as if I were a puppy that everyone had to crowd. But secretly I loved the warm hugs from uncles and aunts, high fives from cousins, and welcome backs from friends. I love how they royally carry my bags and listen to me with deep interest. The ride home was fantastic, palm trees danced in the wind, light blue waves crashed into the sea, and the people all looked different. They wore kipas (small hats that are worn on the back of your head). They have two braids going down past their ears, and long beards. Most of them are Jews. The car was filled with heartwarming experiences. I shared the excitement of camp, my brother, 9, bragged how he will soon become a professional hockey player (he’s not that good), and obviously I didn’t pay attention to what my parents shared because I was too busy thinking about how I’de rather be at my friends house. Worrying that my time in Israel would be horrible
The moment my grandfathers foot pushes on the breaks of the car we sprint to the house trying to avoid the 100 degrees air. As soon as I slipped open the sliding doors I thought to myself, what am I supposed to do here? It’s burning outside, there’s no children my age that speak English within miles, most my family is at school or work, what can I do? I complained to my mother and she persuaded me somehow not to worry, but that just makes me worry more. Boredom on vacation was not an option in my mind so I improvised. First I watched T.V., everything’s in Hebrew, no point… Next I rolled around with their dog Lao, that put a smile on my face, but the excitement only lasted until he jumped on me and scratched my face. I heard my mom talk to Moma, my grandma, in Hebrew. I briefly understood what she was saying, but the one word that made my heart skip a beat was choaf. Choaf means beach, it may sound stupid that anyone would get that exited over going to a beach, but you probably haven’t been to the beach in Israel. The beaches there have waves that are 10 feet tall and sand as smooth, soft and velvety as a kitten’s fur. They’re almost identical to the beaches in Hawaii. I’m guessing my mom wanted to keep it a surprise, but I’m one step ahead.
“Alex, you have to go un-pack now.” “But aren’t we going to the beach?” I grinned. My mom smiled, “Yes, but you first have to unpack.” I rushed to my room. I threw all my clothes onto the bed. To me that was unpacking, but to my mom it was a mess. Maybe I beat a world record for putting clothes away the fastest because in seconds I went downstairs for my mom to inspect my bedroom for any mess. All good.
In a minute we got packed into the van. The ride was five minutes, but to me it was five hours. My cousin kept complaining that my brother and I were squirming in our seats, but easy for him to say, he lives there. We arrived; I jumped out and dragged my parents to the beach just like I dragged the surf board on the floor behind me. For now I was not bored, my mind was kept away from my friends that I love, but I was beginning to learn the importance of family on this day. I was excited, in fact all I felt was excitement. But you never would have known because I kept it all bottled up. My family was waiting for me, same spot as always, the striped red and white umbrella in the only shady spot at the beach. The bottle cap was popping off of the bottle, the bottle labeled Alex’s excitement. Coming down the stairs, I had to turn back every five seconds to yell “Come on Mom, come on Dad I’m waitin’!!!” but they just ignored me, back then I would have never noticed how annoying it was, but now that I think about it I hate when people do that. From this view the beach looked amazing. The sea was sparkling blue and sand was gold. On the waves lived people riding on surfboards, in the sand there was a town of sand castles. I shook my head to get back on track and continued down the stairs. It took me a while but I finally sighted the rest of my family, exact spot as I predicted, and that’s where the cap of my excitement bottle popped off. I remember not really being excited to see my family, but to jump into the water. I avoided conversations. Unfortunately my family didn’t’. Again I wished that I was at my friend’s house, they don’t go on and on about how much they missed me. All that was on my mind was entering one of the most amazing things that Mother Nature had to offer me, the sea, not my grandparents and what they had to say.
I think the water was calling my name, it was pulling me in. So I just followed it all the way in. The water was warm, probably 80-90 degrees. I jumped over waves trying to get deeper. About 100 feet in the waves are the highest. Stomach face down on the surf board, I swam to the border between small waves and big waves. I could feel the salt brush against my skin, punishing me with a slight itch on my legs and arms. I caught a few waves, but because of my skill level most of the time I failed. I laughed as the tall waves crashed on top of me ripping my feet off the surfboard. I spun in circles under the layer of the sea. I forgot what the sun looked like under there. What did the air taste like again? My mouth went numb as soon as it filled with salt water. I counted how long I was under water. 1,2,3,4,5… when I hit 30 my chest began to ache, but the longer I stayed the better it would be. My Dad’s blood rushed to his head. I couldn’t stand the pain anymore so I pushed on the ground and popped my head back onto the dry part of earth. I held my breath for about a minute. I gasped for air, and when I opened my eyes my Dad was searching for me. I wish you could have seen his face. He was as white as a zombie until I caught his attention with, “Did I scare you?” his face turned red with embarrassment, how could I have drowned when the bottom was 6 feet deep, almost high enough for me to stand. I broke out in laughter. But inside I was happy, not because of the joke, but because he loved me enough to get that scared over me drowning.
I spent another hour in the water until my mom approached. I was thinking, “go away, go away” but unfortunately she explained that we were leaving now. Annoyed I answered “nah ah” but she had to have her way. “Yes, we’re leaving NOW.” I whined “But Mommmmmmm, I don’t wanna’ go now,” and made a puppy dog face. I tried to fake cry, that would’ve worked if was 8, the puppy dog if I was five. But I wasn’t, I was 11. I was grumpy the ride home. But what child isn’t when they don’t get their way? My Mom was “stupid”, a “meany”, or a “jerk”, but as much as I ment at the moment she still knew I loved her, and that’s the only thing that kept us from turning this car around.
At that moment I realized how hungry I was, I never thought about it when I was in the water. My stomach was barking like a dog. “What’s for dinner?” I heard an answer; it must’ve been from heaven, “Snitchle.” I couldn’t believe my ears, Snitchle was my favorite food. We got to the house and I waited for these little chicken nuggets to be ready. When the Snitchle’s smell filled the air my mouth drooped open, possibly drooling, I sprinted to the table and finished before anyone could start. Everyone chatted and giggled that dinner, but believe it or not I was quiet. Believe it or not I was exhausted. Maybe it was the first time in my life where I was quiet or exhausted, I had to rest and think if trading friendship for family was a good choice.
After laughs I limped to my room. My eyes were half closed so maybe I was sleep walking. I crawled into bed. I revised the day in my head; it was like a week shoved into a day. I had good times and bad times, but I can’t believe that I would have preferred to be at my friends earlier today. Being with my family gave me memories like the one I wrote now. It’s the memories that are passed onto my grandchildren, to my readers, and kept right next to my heart. Most of the time I don’t even remember what I do at my friends houses. So next time you are invited to spend time with your family, Trade Friendship for Family, just for a day.

Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

Site Feedback