Soon, Elie will be given a week's vacation from the army. They will start the week by taking the soldiers to a local water park and giving them a day of fun. Another day may be scheduled for the commanders to go to PaintBall again, as they did right after the war.
Other than that, Elie plans to be home helping us pack and move. He asked the army for another week and they gave him permission, so towards the end of this week, he'll be home for just over two weeks. There is no impatience when I ask him to help, no complaints that he should be entitled to time to do nothing.
Though I welcome the sense of maturity that enables him to realize I really need his help, it's nice to know he'll be home. This week, he came and took our car so that he could use it to go to physical therapy for his knee, and then come home without buses. I had a meeting with a client, so I picked Elie up at his base and drove him to our Training Center in Jerusalem, where the car was waiting for him.
When we walked in, he saw that there was a bucket under where the air conditioner is installed in the drop ceiling. We explained that it has just started leaking and with my husband away, I need to figure out who to call.
"Where's the ladder?" Elie asked. Never mind. He put his gun down, set the ladder in place and climbed up. He pulled out tape from his back pocket, tried to tape something, and then released something else - and water poured down on him.
"There's my shower," Elie joked with more humor than I would have had in the same situation.
"I need something," Elie announced a minute later. I didn't have a clue what he wanted, but he scavenged around, found a piece of something that would work, climbed back up, put the piece in place - and there it was, a working air conditioner that didn't leak.
His job done, I got my kiss and he left to go back to base. He's on night patrol for the next few days - he likes that better. It's cooler and more interesting.
Two days ago, he called me. "So, did you see the news?"
Oh God, I thought. "No, what happened?"
"You didn't see YNET?"
"No, what happened?"
"Kalkilya is actually a nice city," he told me.
"You aren't supposed to be going in there," I told him. His first commanding officer told me that artillery units would secure the perimeters while other units went in. "Or promised me," I said, knowing it would make him laugh.
"What did you do?" I asked him.
"We found guns and explosives," he told me, "and we arrested someone."
These are the things we want our sons to tell us because we are calmer when we know...or so I keep telling myself. It's better to know...at least, I think it is.
For now, I'm just happy he'll be home soon for several days. This weekend will be a very quiet one - my husband is visiting his family in the States for the first time in more than a decade. We have rarely been apart in all the years of our marriage and I miss him. It's a different kind of feeling with him not here and the children feel a bit lost as well. But we have so much to do while he's gone. We're packing and I'm hoping to actually move as much stuff as I can between the houses before he comes back. We set it up to have the month of August to move, but I want to surprise him.
Elie's getting this time off will go a long way in making that happen. His willingness to give that time means so much. So, with a simple Sabbath almost ready; with my daughter staying at her in-laws, Elie on base, and my husband in the States...we are a very spread-out family...but it just makes me look forward even more to the first weekend we'll have all together once everyone is home again.
Shabbat shalom - to everyone, everywhere. Be safe.