I have so enjoyed this truly beautiful summer. As the world endures ghastly terrorist attacks, and as the American election is about choosing between pretty bad and much worse, I have put every worldly concern aside to concentrate on a huge ray of sunshine in my life: my family.
It is rare to see all four Richard-Moscovitz children in the same place at the same time. This summer, not only could I say all of them were here at the same time, but so too were two grandchildren, and three sons-in-law, two of whom are Israeli while the third is American.
To make their time in Canada even more special, my daughter Hannah’s extended Israeli family came too: her mother-in-law, two brothers-in-law and a sister-in-law. Not to be outdone, my son-in-law from New York came with two of his brothers.
The cottage that I contemplated selling all winter was just what I needed. Between Ottawa and the cottage, everyone found a place to sleep, and I was assured those extra mattresses I always kept at the lake for just such an occasion were very comfortable.
Israelis dream of fresh water lakes, and it was astonishing to see their eyes light up when they saw mine. To draw an accurate picture, I have to say my place is quite modest and the lake is on the small side. While there is nothing majestic about the lake, to my Israeli visitors, it was heaven on earth.
They couldn’t wait to canoe and swim. The first excursion in the canoe and pedal boat was to a huge set of rocks on the east side of the lake where the best swimming is – where the rocks were created for jumping into the water.
A sight and sound to remember forever came from three Israelis canoeing for the first time. With no wind, no waves and no strong lake currents, the first-timers could canoe with no danger and easily managed to rapidly get where they wanted to go. Watching the gusto with which two of them paddled, while the third sat in the middle and laughed, you had to think you were seeing a special, once-in-a-lifetime moment.
They looked and sounded like cowboys. They resembled speedy horseback riders heading out on the trail into a beautiful sunset. The Israelis’ trail was about fulfilling dreams.
To put that in perspective, my daughter’s mother-in-law hadn’t been outside Israel for more than 20 years. She had to get a passport to make the trip. She is a woman who spends her days exploring nature in the Jerusalem Forest. For this nature lover, exploring Canada on a lake in a canoe was a cherished moment.
When we jumped off the rocks and began swimming, they couldn’t believe how beautiful, how refreshing, the water was. We used Styrofoam noodles to stay afloat, talking and laughing in the water for more than an hour. Their exuberance taught me to never take Canada’s natural, abundant beauty for granted. A visitor’s eyes often change how you see things.
When we got out of the water, my daughter’s youngest brother-in-law told me his friends in Israel would do anything to swim in a fresh water lake as he had just done. For this 20-year-old, the vacation in Canada was a 10-day break from military service. He is in the Israeli air force stationed in Haifa. With advanced technology, he watches the skies to ensure there are no missiles, drones or fighter jets coming from enemy skies.
The visitors brought our families so much closer. For me, it was an especially beautiful moment to see my two grandchildren get to know me and each other. The Israeli grandson, Shalev, will be two years old in January while my American granddaughter, Beatrice, will turn one in November.
My highlight: supper at the cottage with the two grandchildren at the table for the first time. I looked across at them and instantly knew how special the moment was.