Since February I have spent a few hours most Sunday afternoons babysitting for a family in a neighboring town. My country coordinator happened to know the mother and knew that she was looking for some assistance and I was lucky enough to have experience and the time available. So, each Sunday I catch a taxi and head over to play with two of the most adorable little girls I’ve ever met.
While their older brothers, ages 10 and 7, are a little more self-sufficient and not in need of as much care, I shepherd around Carmela, age 5, and Majdel, age 2. The girls are always so excited to play with play dough, read books, draw and pet the new kitties living on their porch. It’s a fun way to spend a few hours each week and it’s fantastic to know that I’m really helping their parents have a break and get some much needed time to rest and work on important business- and there is plenty to do since both are lawyers!
From the outward appearance of this lovely family, it would seem that they are a very traditional bunch. The father’s parents live downstairs and cousins, aunts and uncles live in neighboring homes- a very typical Palestinian setup. Yet, something is a little unique about this particular one.
The truth is this family is actually mixed. And mixed in a way that is very unlikely in this particular place. The mom is American. But that’s not the strange part; there are plenty of Americans living in Palestine. She is also Jewish.
This family, full of love and compassion, is in fact half Jewish and half Palestinian. Not exactly a typical combination over here. I’m sure it was quite the scandal years ago when the two began dating and eventually wanted to marry. Now, you’d never know that there was ever controversy. Both sets of parents have accepted the other spouse into their family and of course, the 4 grandchildren are the pride and joy of them all.
Today when I went over to the house the girls were especially excited to play outside in the small patch of green grass with their newly found baby turtle. After an hour of attempting to build a little home for him in an old ice cream container we headed inside to cool off. We were walking up the stairs and little Majdel looked up at me and said, “Jen, I love you” to which I quickly replied that I loved her too. It was the sweetest moment.
In such a turbulent and violent place it is so great to know that in some homes love knows no bounds. No matter what the race, religion or background there is always room for a little love.