Well, after much rearranging of schedules, an officer from my son's division arrived and met with Elie to answer any questions he might have. What will he do the first day? Where will he go? What will he need to bring with him?
A drop-off site in Jerusalem - a bus to Tel Aviv - supplies doled out and assignments received. A trip to the basic training base, two months of basic training. Another two months of artillery practice. Details of uniforms and schedules and visits home. These are the questions and answers a 19-year-old boy will ask. As he's old enough to vote and apparently to serve in the army, he doesn't need his mother to come along, but I have questions too.
How will I know when I need to worry and when I can be calm?
I know the army needs to mold the boys into men, the individual into the unit, but will you protect the boy inside the man, the soul inside the individual?
Sometimes my son is a natural leader - will you develop that trait, or seek to crush it?
Sometimes my son likes to talk and it isn't always clear where his thoughts are going - will there be friends for him there, comrades in arms - but also comrades in peace - to listen to him?
Perhaps my biggest fear is that the army is bound to change him and yet I love him just as he is. Every mother loves their infant, knowing that soon he will grow and crawl and walk and run. Now my son goes into the army and the next stage in his development is upon us. Today, he is more boy than man, though he would likely argue that. Tomorrow will come soon enough. I hear him teasing his sister and laughing upstairs - may God bless him and keep him safe, always to tease, to laugh, to lead, to live.