So . . .that's Grumble (far left) having a ball in Israel with some his 650 new bff's. How do I know? Bunk1.com.
Bunk1.com is a company that sleepaway camps use to provide more or less continuous coverage of your child's summer activities. If I choose -- and for a fee of course -- I can see photos of my darling son 24/7 at bunk1.com and bask in the warmth of his smiling goofy face, scruffy beard, curly locks and sun tanned punim (that's Yiddish for face). And sometimes I actually do.
But more often, I don't want to see his every move. My parents didn't get to see me and my teenage pals do all the hormonal things we did the summer I turned 16 in 1968...the summer of love. And thank heavens for that! Some things are better left to the imagination. I just don't go in for all this Mommy Cam, Nanny Cam, Doggy Cam stuff. It's such. . . narcissism. Such....helicoptering.
Grumble is traveling in Israel with the North American Federation of Temple Youth -- NFTY. NFTY also makes it possible for kids to rent inexpensive cell phones while in Israel. Buckling under to intense teenage peer pressure, I caved in and let Grumble rent a phone. It did allow him to connect with his father who was also visiting in Israel and have a meal with him. But I have only called him twice and only reached him once. He sounded great. So far, I don't hear from him at all...which is wonderful. This simply underscores the fact that he's having a good time and is busy, busy, busy. Just what I want, just what he needs. These trips are quite the logistical enterprise...think troop maneuvers...and the kids sign a very strict covenant of behavior. Drugs, smoking, drinking and canoodling get you an immediate ticket home.
NFTY supervises 650 North American teenagers (rising 11th graders) broken down into 17 groups of twenty, each on a different bus and each with a slightly different 4-5 week itinerary. The NFTY "command center" in Israel is in daily contact with Tzahal (Israeli army) security and itineraries are adjusted to deal with the realities of life in a war zone. Grumble was in Jerusalem the day a Palestinian rammed a bulldozer into a bus killing 6 and wounding dozens. He's been there all the while that Iran has been testing long range rockets meant for Tel Aviv.
And I really don't worry about it. But as blase as I sound, I simply can't wait to talk to him about it when he gets home. All that theory and passion and history about Israel we've fed him for 16 years is now being digested and filtered and sorted and processed in the real Israel. I want to hear what he thinks, what he ate, what he saw, what he loved, what troubled him. I don't need to see him boogeying. So when the parent e-newsletter (updated daily) indicated that we could watch 650 kids atop Masada grooving to the music of a Jewish rock concert in a live podcast, I laughed. It was a Thursday night and it conflicted with my HGTV's Design Star. I chose TV.
Please don't think I'm cold and heartless. I really DO like reading the itinerary and knowing where Group 15 is each day. But I don't have to know EVERYTHING. When Grumble gets home I'll be happy to see his photos and hear his stories. What he doesn't share, well, that's all for him. Like my 16th summer. Big and beautiful and hormonal and utterly unforgettable.