Things at our house in New Jersey were down to the wire in terms of preparations (big surprise) and we were still packing and repacking into the wee hours of Saturday night/Sunday AM... (We had plenty of space for all the stuff we decided to bring in the luggage allowed by the airline - but getting it into the weight limit was another story! In the end - we pulled out most of our winter stuff. One friend's mom graciously agreed to bring a suit case for us in a couple of weeks (thank you!!!) and the rest went into boxes (along with a box of books) for Grandma and PopPop (aka Steve and Judy) to ship when the get a chance... Big surprise, in that the USPS no longer does Parcel Post to Israel so it will be tres expensive, but such is life.
Sunday AM we awoke to torrential downpours (not unusual given the summer we had been having) and relieved to note that it almost never rains in Israel until the fall! We still had some last minute errands (pick up medications at drug store, drop off more storage at our friends' attic, get the car into the garage and unplug batteries etc..., put more stuff for storage in the garage - sweep out and clean up the whole house, etc.. etc..., but we did have time to eat some bagels (thanks again to grandma and pop pop who took the kids for the Am and returned with food in time to load up the cars for the airport!... we also had a few minutes to talk with our friend Eli who was videotaping the chaos and interviewing us for posterity! We said good bye to the house (Daniel thought it was sad) and headed out to the airport with Ian's brother in one car and Ian's parents in the other car with all the luggage. (Yes - we now travel in caravans!)...
I was really nervous about what the scene would be like at the airport as we were pushing the weight limit on all our bags and also had very large "personal bags" for all 5 of us that needed to get into the plain in addition to the full size carry-ons. We also hoped none of the kids would wonder off during this time (none did - though at least 2 tried to at one point or the other). Thanks again to Ian's parents who kept the kids at bay while we dealt with the luggage. Thanks also to the cute (flirty?) Lufthanza rep who put all of our bags through and even let us check in 2 of our carryon bags (at no extra charge) so we had more free hands to get us all to the plane with. It actually went so shockingly smoothly - that I think I was surprised at the speed with which we found ourselves at the security barrier saying goodbye to Ian's parents. Grandma was holding back tears and the goodbyes were over before I realized it. It was real - we were leaving people who love us and care for us and a life that - while always challenging - had grown weirdly comfortable for us, and we were heading off as a family into the unknown. If I had more time to appreciate the moment I think I would have become somewhat paralyzed with emotion, so it was a good thing that we had to get through the next series of challenges.
Security was ok - except that Yonah suddenly wanted Elmo (aka half-eye - for those ini the know) and had a minor melt down (Elmo of course was safe in the carry on bags we had with us - but no way was I opening the bag until we were seated by the gate!). We got through security smoothly as well, waited a while to board the plane - got our seats changes so we were no longer in the back row and took full advantage of pre-boarding for families with children to get settled in.