The Purple Door

2:16 AM 1 Comments


5 wheelies + 4 duffles + 4 canvas army bags = panic attack
Packing is something that I abhor. Packing for big trips or small--it's the same--TERRIBLE. Ever since I was 15-years-old and moved out of my childhood home, packing has caused me intense anxiety. I remember sitting in the middle of the floor in my freshman year dorm room at the end of the school year. I sat there and had a full blown panic attack--hyperventilation style. 

This is why I knew that packing for this trip was going to be no different. The collecting of items to pack was not so terrible, the choosing of the suitcases: not so bad, but putting those items into the suitcases, no way. Thank goodness for Adam and my grandmother because otherwise we'd be going to Israel with nothing but the clothes on our backs and  maybe a computer or two. Picture this scene:

Thirteen large suitcases and duffle bags in various stages of pack on the living room floor, clothes strewn about in large blue IKEA bags, Adam and my grandmother diligently  packing and discussing where things should go and how, and me just sitting there staring blankly. I kept from having the full blown panic attack this time, but it was still traumatic for me.

The issue is that this feels too similar to the last time I chose to make a life changing move. When I was 15- years-old I made the decision to move out of my childhood home. Like now, this was not an easy decision. Like now, there was no question in my mind that the time was right and I needed to take the necessary steps to make it happen. That didn't make it easy. When I left, I left with the clothes on my back and maybe one or two changes. I went back soon after and vividly remember the sadness I felt packing my things and walking out the door of my home for the last time. Over the years that sadness has faded to a distant memory. 

Now 16 years later as I sat in the middle of the living room floor I was brought back to that time. I thought about the many parallels as well as the differences; I left then most prominently to build a better life for myself. That is the same now (more about our reasons in Why this Decision and Reasons for Aliyah).

The part that hit me hard and paralyzed me in the same way it did all those years ago was the people we are leaving behind. Even though as a teenager I knew in my heart that leaving was the right decision, I grappled with the people (my brothers) I was leaving behind and how my decision to make a better life for myself was effecting them. In the same way, I KNOW in my heart of hearts, this is the right decision at this time for me, Adam and the kids. Regardless of how it plays out exactly, it is going to be a wonderful adventure and a cultural experience for everyone, and has the potential to be so much more. However, I am so sad. We are leaving behind so many people we love. It is a difficult trade off, one that we have weighed heavily. As I sat and watched the bags being packed, I couldn't help but feel like that 15-year-old girl walking out the front door of her childhood home leaving it all behind.

But, I am not that girl anymore. I am not running away from a difficult childhood this time. I am running to a better childhood for my children.

Thoughtfully written by:

Rachel Hopkins

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