When we were packing up in America to move to Israel, Rafi didn’t really know what it meant to make a big move. He could see us emptying out our house, and he understood that our house would be “lonely” until someone else came to live in it, but he just didn’t grasp the concept of there being any other places in the world and what it would mean to leave people behind.
Now he definitely knows the consequences: that he will leave his friends and family here, make new friends in America, and be closer to his grandparents although not in the same city. As to his opinion about that: he vacillates between being excited about the move and articulating the reasons he doesn’t want to go–he has lots of friends here and he will never see Aunt Paula and Uncle Yale again (which is not strictly speaking true but from his point of view might as well be).
It’s no surprise that moving is a mixed bag for Rafi. It’s a mixed bag for us too, but it’s harder on Rafi because this is basically all he knows. When he was three, there was no explaining to him that other places exist. Now, despite the fact that he knows that different places in the world exist, Haifa is by far the place where he knows the most people. There’s just no comparison. He’s pretty fuzzy on details about Cleveland except for what was reinforced on our recent visits. (For example, he remembers that Eden has three indoor cats!) We know he’ll make new friends and achieve new milestones in Portland. Haifa will fade in his memory like Cleveland did…which makes me sad too.