Jonathan Pollard and a Coloring Book

We’re going to the US in two weeks.

It’s a big trip.  It’s a huge trip.

We haven’t been there for three years and when we left last time we were a family of three.  When we went to get our son’s Report of Birth at the US embassy the consular clapped as she declared our son the newest American.  We get to travel with eight passports.  It’s a big deal.

Traveling with two children halfway across the universe is scary, and exciting – mostly scary when I think about getting there – but when I get past that first day of hellish traveling, I get excited.  About the wedding.  And the other wedding.  And the grandparents.  And great-grandparents.  And Chanukah with real, biological family.  And SNOW.  And Wal-Mart.  And Target.  And malls.  And outlets.  And museums.  And zoos that take longer than an hour to get around.  And flea markets.  And used bookstores.  And cheap, cheap clothing.

So we made lists.  Essentials (shoes, underwear, socks, pajamas), Needs (dishes, knives, towels, bed sheets) and Desires (toys, books, art supplies, accessories).

I also allocated space in the four suitcases we plan on bringing back for a few neighbors to order some of their Essentials, Needs or Desires.

The passports are all in place.  America is waiting.  All we have to do is sit tight and try not to add anything to our lists.  And we also have to live the next two weeks out in a semi-normal fashion even though the excitement/fear is overwhelming.

Tonight my daughter’s Yemenite, extremely Israeli friend ate dinner with us.  The prevailing topic has been the upcoming TRIP and tonight was no exception.  He got involved in the conversation, asking when we were going and for how long.  My daughter was letting him know all the things she is excited about (the gigantic dinosaur made of bones we promised she’ll see at the Museum of Natural History and snow, real snow not imported from Northern Israel, but real falling snow) when she offered to bring him something from the great U.S. of A.

He smiled sheepishly and shrugged his shoulders.  But when I reiterated the offer he looked at us, and in all seriousness, asked for the one thing he wanted from big, ol’ America:

Jonathan Pollard.

Yup.  Seven year old Chizkiya, the boy next door who plays on-again, off-again with my little girl, the kid who covets the little playmobile king that came in her princess set, the child who dresses up as a cheetah and pounces around the house as she dances alongside him in her Cinderella dress, wants us to free Pollard and bring him home.

The silence was broken by my little girl asking me who Pollard is…and as I tried to stutter a reply my list seemed to shrink and become just a bit silly and meaningless.

We offered to buy him a coloring book with cheetahs in it.

He accepted the compromise.

My list still stands.

My awe of all things American, however, does not.

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