The conversation went like this:
"Good morning, Licensing division? Perhaps you can help me. My driver's license has expired today. I received your notification quite late. I don't get home very often because I am a student at Ben-Gurion University and I have exams. I'm now at home in the north, I came to be with my mother. She's disabled and I came to help her and drive her around. My father and brother usually drive her, but they are in New-Zealand, my grandmother passed away and they drove the funeral. paid for the license yesterday., what can I do? "
"Okay, thank you very much."
Sounds unreal. Only "the cat peed on/ the dog chewed my payment notice" is missing here.
This was about twenty minutes after the princess woke up in the morning of her birthday and was given the traditional candy dish.
"Even if you're already twenty-five., Happy birthday, my girl."
"Twenty-five years old and still looking forward to the plate of candies," she said.
This success is the retention of a custom of my childhood, when she was still Togetherness and I was in kindergarten. On birthdays of every child, his mother was preparing a plate of sweets beside his bed, so some of the children in the morning. These were cubes of cow milk chocolate*, some toffee lollies and coloured chocolate lollies (the Israeli version of M&Ms). That's what it was then.
I loved this custom and since the kids were a year old, the plate was placed near their beds every year.
Even in the years when they were away in the boarding school, I sent packed plates, which got a bit upgraded since my days in kindergarten and included mini Bounty Bars, Mars Bars, Snickers, Kit Kats, licorice candy sticks, coconut, marmalade, gummy bears and snakes, marshmallows and all kinds of chocolate candies and other snacks.
Oh yes, the payment stub itself a replacement license for six months.
The mess broke up in our home broke two weeks before "Operation Protective Edge" launched…
Stuart receives a message from New-Zealand - his mother is in hospital after she suffered a stroke.
He speaks with Trisha, the sister who lives in Perth, Australia, and emails are running back and forth.
Stuart notifies his brother, Stephen. There is a disconnect between him, Margaret and Stuart's eldest sister, Sharon, and he didn't know about it.
Steven offered Stuart to pick him and Tomer up from the airport and stay with him, when Stuart said they were coming over.
Stuart starts to plan the trip to New-Zealand. It might be the last time that he'll go there and apparently they will get there to the funeral. It's good that Tomer is going with him and he's not going on his own.
He checked the costs of flight through Australia, so he can spend a few days with his sister in Perth. When we were in New-Zealand twenty two years ago we planned to go to Australia, but Brenda, their third sister, lives in Melbourne, the time it takes to fly there is the same as going from Auckland to Perth and the cost is about the same, we couldn't afford to visit both of them.
So I missed the Australia.
3.7, 02:15. Five days before the operation. The rockets raining on the south is getting heavier.
The ringing of the phone is startling us. On the other side there's a frightened girl.
"Mom, a rocket landed here ... the boom sound woke me up ... I did not hear the siren ... in Be'ery we slept in the secured room so we got used to not hear the sirens. I'm alone in the apartment ... don't know what to do ... I can't go back to sleep ... I'm tired and I need to learn the test tomorrow ... "
"When is your next test?"
"Next week, on Tuesday ... anyway they, said that if this goes on they'll postpone the tests ...
"Then come home, you have nothing to do there until next week. Come home."
"But if they'll postpone I wont be able to fly with you ..."
"We'll talk about it when you get home."
In the sixties and seventies of the last century, the settlements Jordan Valley were the most preferred destinations of the PLO to the rockets.
There were years when children's candy dishes a day - birthday lay beside the bunks which has shelters.
Today it is the most quiet area in the country.
A post from Stuart's nephew, Patrick, on Facebook:
"Margaret is in a terrible 'in between' state, not any sign of recover, but still alive. She can't move or communicate but you can tell in her eyes that she is there…
"She won't be the same, but should recover a bit. She knows we are here. The main problem is food because she needs to be fed through a tube... Hopefully she will recover her ability to swallow."
(Patrick never called Margaret 'grandmother' because he was born when she and Stuart's father were in their early forties and he claimed that they were too young to be called 'grandfather' 'grandmother'.)
Patrick message: "begin to give her only comfort care. It's too much trouble ..."
Stuart is booking tickets and organizing the documents for the trip.
"Oh, shit!" The driver's license was not the only document that has expired. Stuart finds out that Tomer's passport expired six weeks ago and we did not notice. We all have renewed our passports together three years ago and issued the first one for Tomer.
"No problem," said a neighbor that Stuart spoke whit, "There's an appendix at the end of the passport, and you can have its validity extend in the Ministry of Interior.
First thing in the morning Stuart and Tomer a in the Ministry of Interior office in Tiberias. What the neighbor said was only partly true – it is not applied for first passport of a minor. Getting new one will take a week. They do not have a week.
But there is a solution. You can issue a passport in the airport, on the spot. It costs 1000 dollars.
Clearly a significant sum. And somehow, it got swallowed in all the expenses of our traveling.
I receives a message that Stuart forwards to Patrick:
"…Mum is ready [to go]. Don't be sad, she has lived a good life. and thanks you both for being there for her."
Brenda calls to say that Margaret had died. In four days she would've celebrated her eighty second birthday.
People express their condolences and sorrow for mourning. But there is no v. Although her life ended after a year and a half of dealing with cancer and chemotherapy treatments that seemed to have succeeded and she was going to recover. Then there was the stroke, from which she wasn't going to recuperate anyway. Death has redeemed her from a life-which-is-not-life, which could have been prolonged and agonizing.
I do not know if this woman's life was a good and happy life, she did not share with me the experiences of her life, nor with her grandchildren. But she did live a long and full life.
Although it seems like that now, we are not a family of "travelers constant".
Stuart and Tomer flew to New-Zealand and landed on the 15th.
They return on Sunday, August the 3rd. On Monday morning, thirty two hours later Shir-lee and I take off to Canada.
We're going to the wedding of Sarah, the daughter of our good friends Don and Diane. Don and have known for thirty five years, since I was sixteen.
For me they are a real family – the family you choose.
The simplest most common chocolate in Israel ever.