When my son entered the Israeli army, I knew right away that he was entering a whole new world. What I didn't know, was that I would also be entering a whole new world of my own. As it turned out, I really entered two new worlds, and one was the world of the bloggers. A few months ago, out of the blue, I was contacted and told that one of my posts had won "The Rising Blogger Post Award."
I have to confess. I didn't know what that was, or what The Rising Blogger was. I learned quickly. It's a brilliant idea - they find amazing blog posts and feature them. Not blogs...but posts. Once you read one of these posts, it isn't hard to get hooked on the blog itself.
In my case, I continue to be amazed that they focused on the one post over which I agonized, out of more than 150 other posts. I have no idea how they did this, but there it was. Most of my posts were easy to write. Some expressed my joys, others my fears - none but that one presented me with a challenge.
Even before that "recognition," and the subsequent exposure to another level of blogging, I had already learned that many friends, associates and similarly-minded people had entered the world of "Jewish blogging." I virtually met (or met virtually), many of the stars of this world - Jewilicious, Muqata, Treppenwitz, me-ander, and many others. Some meet our world with unending humor (Dry Bones Blog and What War Zone being two obvious examples) and others cover the more serious sides. Each offers a glimpse, at any particular moment, of the world where they are and this is what I try to accomplish with my blog as well.
And, I've lately discovered that there are a whole world of mothers writing out there, not just in Israel, but elsewhere as well. My most recent discovery (also because of The Rising Blogger), is Octamom, a mother of eight who inspires me and reminds me that no matter how separate we feel here in Israel, there is so much that we share with others. Octamom's blog is a great one and there are so many others.
What blogging and blogs brings to my world is a sense that there are others who experience the same ups and downs, triumphs and fears as I do. Few of the battles we fight are uniquely our own, even though at the time it does feel that way. That's part of what I have learned as I experience life as a soldier's mother.
Being a mother is so completely different than not being a mother - well, that sounds dumb, doesn't it? What I mean is...the moment you have a child that is yours, the world becomes a different place because you see it through completely different eyes. It takes a long while to realize that it isn't the world that has changed, but rather you.
I always noticed Israeli soldiers as I walked or drove down the streets here. But now, I notice so much more. I see the boy in the uniform, not just the uniform. I note the color of his boots, the color of his beret. I notice if he has stripes on his sleeve, and how many. I see the face, the eyes, the humor, the smile or the tired look.
And there's more. I have always loved the weather here in Israel and most especially in Jerusalem. Now, the rain means Elie and the soldiers are probably wet; the winter means they may be cold; the summer means they are hot and likely uncomfortable. I've always loved thunder and lightning, the power of the storm fills me with awe. But the world of wind and rain is less friendly when you have a son outside in it.
And the darkness is different too. Night is a bit more threatening when you have a son standing on a stretch of road stopping, questioning, searching, and guarding.
Three times in a year, I have been awakened in the middle of the night; each time it takes me hours to settle, to return to calm, to accept that Elie is safe and my world hasn't changed. Reading other blogs helps me get to this calm too. Look how normal she is, writing about her home, her friends, recipes and grandchildren. She had a son in the army, more than one - she survived it, I can too. Look how well he writes of other things, and now he's writing about doing his reserve duty and he's even laughing about it. He survived it and Elie can too, I can too.
Each time someone comments "yes, my mother worried too" and "when I was in the army, I did this too" - each one tells me that there is another side to this world I'm living in, there is a normal, a calm, an after in which people live. Reading the blogs of other mothers who deal with laundry and dishes and kids' problems that have nothing to do with where they are stationed or when their son will next come home.
If you have time and want to read some amazing blogs - click on any of the above links. If nothing else, they tell you that all over the world, we share so much more than that which divides us.