I spoke to Elie on Friday. He had a few minutes before lunch and decided to give me a call. He told me he was probably going to quit the Commander's Course on Sunday. I asked him why and again he said he wanted to take the Medics Course. He just can't seem to let go of that and I don't blame him. It's very much a part of his personality and has been at least for the last 5 years as he has volunteered for the local ambulance squad.
They have already promised him that after the army, they will send him to a course to become an ambulance driver, but the army's Medics Course is known to be intensive and top-notch. Elie wants it and knows that if he finishes the Commanders Course, the army will never let him throw away 12 months of training (8 months in his current unit plus 4 months to be a commander of a similar specialized unit).
"Have you spoken to Or about this?" I asked Elie.
"Yes. He told me that if it doesn't work out, he'll see me back here in 4 months." That is as close to a blessing as Elie can get from his two commanding officers. Now Elie has to reconcile his need to be a medic, with the negative feeling of quitting something. He is not a quitter by nature and this comes hard for him.
I can hear him agonizing over the decision and I can't help him. He has to decide and he has to live with his decision. He has to stay in the south and work hard to become a commander, or he has to quit, be sent up north, train with his unit (those that are not in specialized courses) and wait until the next round, when he will have to fight again to either get into the Medics course against all odds for someone in his type of unit, or give up and go back south for the Commanders course...again.
He sounds a little depressed and unsure. I called him back a few minutes before the Sabbath set in. There are sometimes words that a mother can say that need to be said, and yet they won't help.
I love you, Elie. I am very proud of you, no matter what you decide to do. I can't give you any advice. It's a decision you have to make and only you can make it. Life is full of decisions, full of divides in the road. You choose one and follow and hope it takes you where you want it to. And, if it doesn't, you do the best you can, until the next fork in the road.
It's hard being a mother when your son is far away, sounding a bit sad and lonely. It's hard not knowing the future and what advice to give. And sometimes, it's just hard to know that he's grown up and a hug and kiss won't make everything all better anymore.
I don't know if he will really quit on Sunday. The worst part, I think, is that Elie doesn't know either and this is unusual for Elie. So the roller coaster continues.