By Angie Jacobs
It’s not easy when your children leave the nest, even when you’re not that keen on them.
Ilana is on a nine-month programme in Israel with FZY/Young Judaea and Ethan’s either out or organising the teenage population of north-west London from his room/office.
After many disastrous attempts, I had given up on the thought of any more family holidays. I’d always booked rural, cottagey type places so we could have some quality time together, but they would have been happier in Magaluf.
However, this time I was onto something – a week in Israel during half term. Ilana was missing us and Ethan was tiring of all the – not always positive – attention being the only child at home.
I got online, booked four nights in the centre of Tel Aviv and arranged to stay in my friend’s gorgeous zimmers on his moshav in the north. (Note the plural, for three glorious days we were to have our own bathrooms).
Departure day arrived and we were all speaking, despite a rather unpleasant mother-son trip to Sports Direct the previous day.
The journey went without a hitch until I walked in on someone who hadn’t locked the toilet door on the plane. (The only upside of being greeted with a hairy backside is you don’t have that embarrassing eye avoidance thing afterwards).
Arriving in Israel is always wonderful and being greeted by your daughter, whom you haven’t seen for three months – I’d had a cheeky trip out alone for a week in November – exalts it to Utopia for at least the first few minutes. In fact, the first night went swimmingly – they loved the apartment, which was in spitting distance of a schwarma bar and a stone’s throw from Carmel market. The Chinese restaurant I’d chosen was also a hit.
We strolled around the surrounding areas of Neve Tzedek and the waterfront, didn’t get lost and retired to our beds ready for a good night’s sleep. But alas, sharing a room with her little brother, that is something that Ilana did not get. It had been hard for Ethan having no sister around to chastise for five months and he wasted no time catching up. As soon as the poor lass drifted off to sleep, a torch was shone in her eyes and the ensuing commotion filmed and posted on social media (from an unflattering angle).
The next morning, it seemed as if Ethan may have gotten his divine comeuppance as he awoke with a sore throat. I went into a decline; we had looked forward to this trip for so long and now it may be marred by having to nurse a sick child. I set about making him hot drinks and moaning to husband Tony. But what was that noise? Who was blaring out loud rap music in our apartment. “Let’s get this party started!”, a familiar 15-year-old male voice yelled out with glee.
My little trooper was battling through the pain and when I entered the room, the two teens were twerking and jerking to Mek It Bunx Up without a care in the world. Like Abracadabra on my Israel Tour in 1984, this became our holiday anthem.
The days that followed in Tel Aviv were full of friends, fun and, of course, food.
We were in a constant state of fullness and even missed lunch one day. The kids were getting on fairly well and there was only one ‘storm off’ which was in the Old City in Jerusalem, perhaps not the most sensible of places.
Four days in the hustle and bustle and we were ready to drive up north to Moshav Kahal near Rosh Pinah. We had our own digs, two separate self-contained zimmers and the luxury of our lovely friends in their house nearby to look after our every need. The kids’ zimmer had a drum kit and seeing as Ethan was never the first one awake, Ilana got her revenge. Once awake, Ethan MC’d (DJ’d to you and me) at top volume across the Galilee. I doubt we’ll be invited back.
More friends, more food, a couple of waterfalls and, once again, I was going to have to say goodbye to my precious daughter for the next three months.
At the airport, Ethan stopped filming me crying to give his sister a hug and a farewell greeting of “Bye bye potato”. It was his way of saying I’ll miss you.