So here I am, running two busy businesses and being a full time mom in the crazy month of August. On top of that, I have two trips coming up that are tipping my scales of sanity into the murky area where us moms would rather not go…the Valleys of Out Of Control, and the Lakes of Get Me Outta Here!
You may say: “Two trips?! Batmom, you haven’t been away for two years – stop complaining, be grateful!” But although I know that I should appreciate all that comes my way, there is one issue regarding both trips that is causing a lot of anxiety – and that issue is Baggage!
The first trip is in four days. The Batfamily (that’s us) is going to the North of Israel for a Zimmer and Camping holiday. There’ll be lots of opportunity’s for Batgirl to find meaning to contribute to her Bat Mitzvah Mission (see Rainbow Path post), and of course it will be a great break and family bonding time. However we’re now a 6 people family in a 7 seater car, and Batbaby comes with a lot of accessories – from travel cot to bib, from stroller to formula – and we haven’t the foggiest idea how we’re going to get us AND our “stuff” in the car.
Batdad in particular has been worrying about this issue. He is the Great Packer in our family, and he will have responsibility for loading, offloading and reloading the baggage numerous times a day. And if Batdad is worried then I worry, and if we both worry – well, let’s just say that it’s a recipe for disaster!
But before you, dear readers, start your own escalating worry sessions, I want to share the good news. Our good friend Shady Real Estate Lawyer in Israel found us The Chimigag Solution – a fantastic bag that fits on the roof of your car, and holds all the baggage in place. Everything is compartmentalized and safe, and the baggage can be offloaded easily and neatly whenever you want. Batdad and I agree that this is one product that we can’t live without, and so today I am going on a mission to find us our very own Chimigag.
But solving the baggage problem of the second trip isn’t so easy. This trip will be with my father and sisters. We will be going to Lithuania and Belarus to visit and reconstruct the early life and war experiences of my late grandparents, Itzel and Sima Kaplinski, who were holocaust survivors and Bielski Partisans. The baggage I will be taking on this trip, is that of a Third Generation Survivor. This baggage has been tightly stuffed into remote places in my mind and heart for the past 20 years, but it affects all that I do and all that I am.
Batdad is worried about this baggage too – he is afraid of how it will spill out and affect our kids. And he also doesn’t want to be the one to reload it to where it is supposed to stay. I get his point. But I am afraid that there is no Chimigag to keep this baggage all compartmentalized and safe, and there will be times that it will inconveniently and unexpectedly all spill out.
It’s funny, the Yiddish word for “stuff that we carry around like baggage” is “peklach”. The wikipedia entry on Peklach defines “peklach” as the bag of candies are thrown (in good spirit) at the Chatan (groom) in the synagogue on the Shabbat before his wedding. I laugh at the image of me throwing my Third Generation Survivor peklach at someone, like candy in a bag. Would I throw it gently? Or would I aim to maim? At whom would I throw? And what if I decided that I want to take it back? It is after all my own, and part of what makes me me!
So this month, Batmom, the Surprising Superhero (that’s me), will be trying to negotiate her way through the minefields of work and home, summer vacation and a journey into the past. And one way or the other, the whole of the Batfamily, will be coming with me. Wish us luck!