Our story is a complicated one. It started when we were nine-years-old; but almost 30 years later, four continents, three kids and endless obstacles, we've found our way to each other.
Asaf and I met when we were in the third grade. We missed all the clues over and over our lifetimes, but three years ago our paths crossed again, and we finally clung to it. Once together, it was so easy to understand that this was always here. Our love has persevered long periods over continents apart, divorces, adopted children, criticism, gossip, disbelief. We fought for our romance and build our relationship despite everything, and brought our beautiful baby boy Nikolas to the world.
But life and the world being as it is, and humanity being everything but human, separated us, and our three children, again. And for what. So I sit here, alone on Christmas Eve, and instead of a joyful party and dinner, I sulk alone battered by the long whips of bureaucracy. Kafka would have been proud.
Four months ago, after two long years of parting again and again, between my kids in New York my love in Tel Aviv, Asaf gave up everything to move with me back to New York, so our family is united, so there is no more longing, and long travels, crying, hardship. He gave up a decade-long successful career in social work with troubled youth, and a foundation he build with his own hands that promotes community service, tolerance, and anti-racism. He gave up his wide network of friends, and his family to make sure my two older kids, me, our baby and him can live a quiet life together. It all ended in a split second and one sad decision.
As we stood in front of the immigration officer with our two kids and baby, everyone except Asaf -- a citizen -- I did not know where to begin to communicate with this inhumane creature that told Asaf with a smile and a heavy accent that he can take the bus back to Montreal while we return to New York. He called Asaf a war criminal because of his mandatory service in the Israeli military and threatened him with violence in a back room after he was finger printed and told to keep his head down like a criminal. Asaf was in the U.S. legally, never worked, and we planned to file papers immediately following our entry back from Montreal. But there isn't much one can expect from a common immigration clerk. It is the deaf ears we fell on everywhere else thereafter.
All those influential people I met over the years whether growing up as military and political brat in Israel, or throughout my career on Wall St. and in the non-profit world as a fundraiser; all those people who loved to talk about themselves and their achievements; what they have done for society, or mostly for themselves. The money they amounted, the contacts they created, the influence they now command. Those who knew our story, and those who did not; those who were there when they needed favors, investors, hand-shakes, and those who peppered us with their fine words over the years. None of them were willing to help.
And so here we are. Living a nightmare of loneliness, brothers and sisters apart, loving parents and partners apart, with no one to call out for.
So what is my lesson for Christmas? It is all bullshit. All the movies, all the good deeds, all the effort. Just like TV commercials about the cars you will never be able to pay for but that will keep you buying another car and another, humanity promises you a dream that will never come true. A dream where humans are understanding, forgiving and helpful.
And in the meantime, our family has to spend six, seven, eight months apart for bureaucracy to stop punishing us for simply wanting to be together.