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Friday, August 3, 2012

Ode to Gavriella

Gone - flitted away,
Taken the stars from the night 
and the sun from the day!
Gone, and a cloud in my heart.
~Alfred Tennyson...
... and Daniel

Me gazing into Gavriella's eyes. Sigh.

Year 1 is in the can - today was our last day at Shalva as we enter our summer break. And what a year it was! I graduated with flying colors and I shall advance to my second year of school in just a few weeks.

While the year was wrought with all sorts of excitement from pudding and sneezing to smooching and walking, the end of the year also comes with a very sad Shalom.

Gavriella - the dynamic teacher's assistant, photographer, advocate, videographer, spy, diaper changer, cheerleader, medicine administrator, snot wiper, problem solver and so much more - has completed her year of National Service at Shalva and will be bringing her immense skill set to another volunteer position next year where she will no doubt make her mark and a difference in the lives of other children. While I will search the depths of my heart to find some forgiveness for this act of abandonment (Gavi, I know you're reading this!), I will also be forever grateful for Gavi's presence and influence in my most formative year so far.

"Of all the gin joints in all the towns in the world, she walks into mine."

Gavi happened upon Shalva for her national service and, in an even more amazing twist of fate, ended up in my class. It was destiny!

Gavi operated at 110 percent capacity all the time, bubbling over with vigor and love for all of us babies at all times. We all vied for her attention - and we all got it!

If there was anyone even more energetic than us resilient and tireless babies, it was Gavriella. Gavi's energy didn't subside for a moment. In fact, when we napped, she looked for even more things to do.
One of those things was to furtively write in the spy book that was passed between my teachers and my parents every day. In it, she divulged in great detail all of my day's activities, my moods, my sleeping patterns, everything I ate and all the acquired skills that I was futilely trying to conceal from mommy and abba - all in legibly written Hebrew which is a rare and valued commodity.

Even when she was off, Gavi didn't stop working.
Here she is visiting me at home but acting under a
moral obligation nonetheless to entertain me
during mealtime.
I called it BabyLeaks (similar to WikiLeaks, not diaper leaks!) and it was an ongoing scandal. For instance, she reported when I said "od" (more) audibly and with sign language - something I never did at home. She also told them how I started eating with my own hands, a proverbial card I continue to keep up my proverbial sleeve in public. And she informed them as well how I feed myself from a spoon without throwing it. My parents still don't believe her.

In addition to recording all these details, Gavi also passed along information electronically to mommy and abba. Thus you have much of the material for this blog in the form of photos and videos. And most importantly, she was on mommy's speed dial! Basically we were all spoiled this year on many levels by the relentless efforts of Gavi.

Sure, thanks to us little angels in the baby class, Gavi will probably have to incinerate her entire wardrobe from this year as we shared copious and diverse baby excretions with her. But I think she is going to miss us nevertheless.

Although I will at least see them around at Shalva next year, I will miss my teacher extraordinaire, Rivki, and assistants Hanna and Faigey who stood by my side the whole year. Actually I will miss everyone at Shalva - even the random teachers who snuck into my classroom simply to kiss me and then sneak out (Nechama).

But as for Gavriella, she owes me many visits during her free hours next semester so we can share some more apchee's (achoo's) and, of course, kisses!

Gavriella left me with a lasting memory of her - this shirt!
What you can't see since I'm leaning over is that she the-dyed
it as well.  Everyone in the class got one. And just like
everyone in the class, all the shirts came out a
little bit different. Unique.
Toda, Gavi!

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