Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

Family Fiction: Never Say Never

D.B. Estrin

“Two free tickets to anywhere,” the El Al representative promised. It was incentive enough to be bumped from our flight and diverted to… Cairo

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

 Mishpacha image

Photo: Shutterstock

” T wo free tickets to anywhere,” the El Al representative promised. It was incentive enough for us to agree to be bumped from our flight to New York and diverted to… Cairo. Just a few hours later, our young family was flying over a vast and desolate tract of land. We peered out the plane window at the flat expanse and talked about how Bnei Yisrael were once truly trapped within this carceral desert. We got another taste of internment when, at the Cairo airport, we were confined to a small and dismal holding area for several hours with hardly any food or drink. We began to question our bright idea, but the children took in the experience as an adventure — so be it! The peeling, light green walls of the terminal; the search for a little water and some fruit; entertaining bored children (the adventure wore off in the fourth hour) faded into the background as we headed off on the final leg of our journey. 

Payback time: two free tickets to our destination of choice. Both lovers of the great outdoors, my husband and I search for the most untouched stretch of wilderness we can reach in the seven days we have to travel. We pick Vancouver. The following year, after arranging a slew of childcare shifts, we choose, we plan, and we fly. 

Yet at liftoff, my excitement of having a week as a couple after an eight-year stretch devoted to child-rearing, turns to dread. As we’re propelled toward the west, I feel my body jettison away from my heart, like the part of the rocket that falls away at a launch. A part of me lags stubbornly behind with my dear small children.

“How can I do this?” slowly turns into “I can do this” as my husband and I begin to banter, read, and relax in a way we haven’t done for years.


We drive up north of Vancouver until we find the strangely named Skookumchuck River — back in Telz Stone, it was a mere dot on a map. On a stormy day, we head down to the river, where we pull in lingcod and sea bass from frothy waters. Later, we warm ourselves by a wood-burning stove at a remote B&B and eat our catches. The fish is so fresh it tastes like meat. I look out of the oversized window, onto a rocky beach and endless ocean. “This should fortify us for the next decade of family responsibilities,” I say.

The following day we follow a trail cushioned with pine needles up a mountainside. “What if we run into a bear?” I ask, finally voicing a pesky fear. “Not as scary as the kids’ bedtimes,” my husband comforts me. He reminds me of the time we camped at the base of a Dead Sea wadi and I woke him up to face off with a lurking panther. “It’s just our backpack,” he had said, sleepily returning to our tent, with stick in hand.

Related Stories

Breaking the High-Tech Ice

Libi Astaire

Despite their differences, Bnei Brak’s Sari Roth and Tel Aviv’s Zika Abzuk have a common goal: openi...

Turning Tides: A Singular Shabbos

As told to Leah Gebber

The ripple effect of two singles showing up at a Shabbos geared for families and married couples

No Farther than Here

Maayan David

What is life like on the world’s remotest settled island? Journalist Andy Isaacson took the week-lon...

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

The Fortunes of War
Rabbi Moshe Grylak We’re still feeling the fallout of the First World War
Some Lessons, But Few Portents
Yonoson Rosenblum What the midterms tell us about 2020
Vote of Confidence
Eyan Kobre Why I tuned in to the liberal radio station
5 out of 10
Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin Top 5 Moments of the Kinus
Day in the Life
Rachel Bachrach Chaim White of KC Kosher Co-op
When Less is More
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman How a good edit enhances a manuscript
It’s My Job
Jacob L. Freedman “Will you force me to take meds?”
They’re Still Playing My Song?
Riki Goldstein Yitzy Bald’s Yerav Na
Yisroel Werdyger Can’t Stop Singing
Riki Goldstein Ahrele Samet’s Loi Luni
Double Chords of Hope
Riki Goldstein You never know how far your music can go
Will Dedi Have the Last Laugh?
Dovid N. Golding Dedi and Ding go way back
Battle of the Budge
Faigy Peritzman Using stubbornness to grow in ruchniyus
The Challenging Child
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Strategies for raising the difficult child
Bucking the Trend
Sara Eisemann If I skip sem, will I get a good shidduch?
The Musician: Part 1
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer "If she can't read she'll be handicapped for life!"