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Summer Days and Having a Tribe

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I have two Israeli friends who live close by. Both have kids, although a little younger than mine (their eldest are my youngest's age). The kids get along as kids do: sometimes they fight, most of the time they go off and play, and we only hear from them if they're hungry. That, by itself, is fantastic.

But the thing I love is when they hang out at our place, stay over for dinner, and we sort of, for that day, raise the kids together. If you read The Red Tent, you know what I'm talking about. It's not that I would like to go back to a time when women were limited to raising children and cooking, but I think we are missing something when we raise our children on our own. There are camaraderie and sharing that just doesn't exist for most modern mothers.

I grew up far away from my extended family, which is unusual for Israel, even now. But our extended family was something we always had, even in the background. On holidays we would go on trips together, hiking in some forsaken forest but never alone. These were the best times: when there were lots of other kids around and lots of other adults around, so basically nobody bothered us, and we didn't bother the adults. We played for hours, making up stuff, running around, getting into everything. I miss that togetherness.

Today I spent the day with one of my Israeli friends and her kids. We took the kids to Somerset House, and the kids played in the water, then we had lunch and went back home, and we are now hanging out at our place with plans to make Shakshuka for dinner. In my book, that's a perfect day.


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