I don’t want to brag or anything, but I was pretty popular back home in New York. You know that kid who always gets picked first for a sports team and who everyone wants to partner with for school projects and who’s always invited to kids’ houses for sleepovers? Well, that was me. I’m not trying to show off, but I had a lot of friends in New York and the kids in my class just really liked me. Yup, that was my old life in New York.
You know what my life is like here? Here, if the kid picking teams at recess can even be bothered to remember my name, he definitely doesn’t pick me first for his team. Maybe he doesn’t know if I’m a good player or maybe he just thinks I won’t understand what my teammates are saying (which I won’t). But honestly? It doesn’t really matter why I get picked last, what matters is that no one likes me here. No one even knows me here. And when someone does act nicely to me by talking to me or including me, I don’t know if it’s because he actually wants to be my friend or because the teacher told him to be nice to the new kid.
I just want to go back to my old friends and my old school. Moving is really hard. I told my parents all this when I got home today after school. I’m not sure what I expected them to respond, but I definitely wasn’t expecting this.
My mother surprised me by telling me, “This move doesn’t have to be permanent, Binyamin. We don’t have to stay here if we all decide that it isn’t the right place for our family.”
“What? So you mean that if I don’t like making aliyah, we can all go back to America for good?”
“Sort of,” she said.
“I knew it. You’re just saying that to get me to stop complaining. What you really mean is that you and Tatty get to make this huge decision that’s going to change everyone’s lives, but we don’t really get a say in it at all. Is that right?” I crossed my arms.
At this point, my father came into the room to join the conversation. “Let me see if I can help explain this,” he began. “Yes, your mother and I planned this move. Yes, we think it’s the best thing for our family. And yes, we do get to make the ultimate decision, because we are the grownups here, in case you haven’t noticed,” he added with a smile. “But you should also know that contrary to popular belief, parents are not evil monsters who are trying to torture their children. So we’re all going to sit down for a family meeting at the end of this school year. At that meeting, we are all going to discuss and decide what our plans are for the future. If any of you boys, or Mommy or I, feel absolutely miserable and feel like staying here would be a big mistake, then we will all move back to America.”
“You mean it?” I asked, not really convinced. Both my parents nodded their heads yes.
“But,” started my mother.
“I knew it. There’s always a catch,” I mumbled to myself.
(Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 783)
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