Off to NY

If Maxie were still alive, I would be in Israel right now.  I would have arrived at around 2 pm on Friday Israel time and my friend Tali Feingold would have picked me up at the airport (because she loves me and she always picks me up).  Right now, we would probably be at her brother Ofir's house (my first Feingold friend.  I met him in a Disco in 1994), hanging out with his wife Orit and the BEAUTIFUL children.  The Feingolds are always my first stop in Israel and usually my last too.  In 2009, Ted, Prima Sharon and I spent two days in Ofir and Orit's apartment on lock down because of a big thunderstorm (and also, we may have just been feeling lazy, although I remember that Tali, Ted and I went to a spinning class).  We ate a lot of schnitzel (Orit is an AMAZING cook).  Of course, I am not in Israel and I don't know when I will go next and I always miss my Feingoldim (plural for Feingold).  Instead, Ted and I are getting on a red eye flight tonight to New York to see Auntie Beth run the NY marathon in memory of Max.  She has already raised almost $10,000 and I am sure that by the time the weekend is over, she will have surpassed that goal.  Truly amazing.  We are blessed to have so many family and friends who have donated to Maxie's Forest, Beth's run, and who have bought Team Maxie t-shirts.  We know that you support us and our boy and it means the world to us.
I wanted to mentioned some people who I don't really know who have gone above and beyond to support Team Maxie.  David Eisenberg is a JNF board member from Boston who I have never actually met.  He is the chairman of Team JNF for the Israel Ride (which officially begins on Tuesday).  Even though we have only ever emailed and talked on the phone, I instantly liked him and loved his enthusiasm for the Israel Ride, which he does every year.  The Ride has tremendous meaning for David as he does it in memory of his step father, with whom he shared a very special relationship.  Several weeks ago, I sent David an email saying that I was sorry that I fell off the earth.  He responded by saying that I didn't fall off the earth, that the earth fell out from under me.  He wrote me again a few days later to tell me that although he had already reached his fundraising goal for the ride, he wanted to do something extra in memory of Max.  He promised to plant another tree in Maxie's Forest for anyone else who contributed towards his Israel Ride and he sent out a letter to all of his contacts.  Again, when I said something about the Jewish community, I was totally generalizing and there are many people like David who have been incredibly supportive.  Thank you David.  We wish a very safe journey for you next week and we will be thinking about you!
I also wanted to mention Melissa Rossi and Jenny Romanowski, two women from CT that I have never met.  I believe that they both live in Fairfield, where Ted grew up.  They have been sending encouraging words for weeks and posting information about Maxie's Forest and Beth's run.  Jenny even wrote me this morning to tell me that her 8 year old wants to take on Maxie's Forest as her class service award project (I'm not sure what that is, but it sounds great).  These two women were strangers to us and yet they have put themselves out there on our baby's behalf.  It is so encouraging and gives me so much hope.  I know that I can't trust the world we live in at all, but that I can still put faith in our own humanity is beautiful.
My new friend Kimberly Birbrower who I have also never met but found me through Bianca who posted my blog on a mommy Yahoo user group.  She is the one that set me up with my other new friend down the street who lost her beautiful baby girl to SIDS three and a half years ago and who has given me so much hope.  Kimberly sent me a children's book right after Maxie died about reincarnation featuring an old man from Tibet and written by a Jew.  I love it and can't wait to read it to our future children.  Maybe it will spur some memories in one of our little ones about previous lives we may have all shared together (you know I am getting into that stuff, so why fight it?)
Some people I do know and wanted to mention as well (and if I don't get to you today, I hope to soon!).  My friend Sigal Reingold who I met when she was Sigal Eitan and we lived in Haifa.  She always treated me like a sister and gave me her apartment to live in, was my designated driver for a full year at least and accompanied me on so many crazy adventures (was thinking about your crazy roommate recently, Sig, that used to steal stuff from you and even scaled the walls to get into your room. must have had some good stuff in there).  Sigal sent Ted and I the most creative keychains in memory of Maxie.  They both had a piece of wood from Mount Carmel (where you got that, I don't know).  Mine also has a little bottle cap with the map of Quepos/Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica (where our house is) in it, a little silver heart, a bunch of lucky with Ted and my wedding date in it, and a token that says "My Little Monkey" and has Maxie's birthdate on it.  I love it.  It is such a wonderful summary of our love.
I also wanted to mention my friend Suzy and her family.  Suzy's father is Palestinian, born in Jaffa, who was not able to return to his home after 1948.  Their family have always welcomed me to family parties and celebrations (in fact, we brought a two and a half month old Maxie over there for Christmas Eve last year).  They came for Shiva, they sent Suzy with little gifts for me, and they (including Suzy's cousins) donated trees to Maxie's Forest.  I think that speaks volumes about their characters.
Truthfully, I could go on and on about people who have shown us incredible kindness (including every single person who donated even one tree in Max's memory) but I did want to write a little about my baby today because I miss him so much.  Every day Ted and I are scared that we are going to forget little details about Maxie, his character and his little idiosyncrasies.  As his mother, I still feel like it is my job to fight for him.  Even though I couldn't save his life, it is my job to preserve his memory and to make sure that he lives on through us.  We were trying to teach him sign language and only used a hand full of words and phrases with him: more, milk, all done and I love you.  We started I love you very early on and I think it was the only one that he really recognized.  Whenever we gave him the "I love you" sign, he smiled extra big.  I know I said that he smiled all of the time, which he did, but he would break out into a new smile or really get a bigger one when we said "I love you" with the sign.  He knew it, I know it.  I am not sure when he would have started to be able to sign "I love you" back to us but his recognition of our words and hands and the reaction he would have was sign enough for me to know that he loved us back too.  Sometimes I just do the sign into the air, hoping that Max is nearby to know how much I still love him.  I still love him more and more every day.  My medium friend says that he is nearby.  My more religious friends and family say that he is in heaven.  Wherever he is, I hope he can see how our love for him dictates nearly every move we make and that just because he isn't here doesn't mean that our love for him has lessened at all.
So, wish Auntie Beth luck and support Team Maxie:


Bianca said...

Maxie is so beautiful and that smile is completely pure and joyful. I love it, I love him and I miss him so much. I have no cosmic answers (I wish!), but I do believe that he was, is and will always be wrapped in his mama's love.

Jenny Romanowski said...

Abby you are beautiful! Maxie got his light from you and I know it will shine on again! Have a safe flight and keep us posted on the race. All prayers and good thoughts are with you and your family this weekend and always! Hearts and love to you and Ted!

Anonymous said...

Best wishes and safe travels to you and Ted. Maxie is absolutely near you, all the time, and has touched so many lives.

- Lesley