Monday, November 29, 2010

Tomorrow's Soldier

It seems that our children grow so fast. Yesterday's child is today's bridegroom, or so it seems. My parents have eleven grandchildren in total - eight of them boys. Three are in the US, five here in Israel.

Three are my sons; two belong to my sister. Elie was the oldest grandson, the first to enter the army. Yair was next. Shmulik went in a while later, the months blend together and it's hard to remember. My parents have three grandsons who serve this land...and two more who have yet to serve.

I spoke to my sister earlier tonight. Her youngest son has been going through the various entrance steps to the army. He's trying out to be a pilot. Hundreds try each year, a few dozen succeed.

It's a scary road he takes. I can't honestly in my heart hope he succeeds. I know he wants it but I can't get myself to hope he gets what he wants. I've accepted Artillery (both Elie and Yair were in Artillery). I could handle the ground forces - Shmulik and Chaim and Yaakov served in the ground forces. But Air Force...planes...I don't know.

I was thinking about the baby I knew all grown and starting the last steps into the army. He was just a baby when we moved here and now he's so tall, so beautiful. And another thought crossed my mind. If the fourth grandchild is getting ready to enter the army; the fifth can't be that far behind. Too soon. My youngest son is next.

He's not even 15 years old (okay, he's just over a month away, but that's still 14). But in two years, they'll invite him to the first call-up and the process will begin. He and Yoav are tomorrow's soldiers. They say there are no certainties in life, but the truth is that there sometimes are. One almost certainty, if there is such a thing, is that yesterday's child becomes tomorrow's soldier too fast.

We're racing to the future again when all I want to say is slow down. Today is so beautiful, so precious. Slow down.


George said...

Statistically, it is safer to be a pilot than to be in infantry.

A Soldier's Mother said...

I'm sure, in a round about way, that is supposed to comfort me, right?


The part of the pilot training that scares me is actually the training rather than once they pass the course. I'm assuming you know what I know because you know more than I know so you'd have to know what I know and more ... let me know when you figure that one out!

Chappy Chanukkah!!!

perlsand said...

Wow-I couldn't have read this entry at a more appropriate time. My son just called (after not hearing from him for a week) to say that he finished his "gibush" successfully and will know tomorrow if he will be accepted in the elite combat unit he was trying out for. Now, I hear this and I'm supposed to actually HOPE he does get it!!I would have to be crazy, right? But, I hear myself telling him I'm glad he made it this far and that I wish him luck and I even "sort of" mean it.Of course I know that if accepted, he will be in more danger and have a tougher service than if not. But this is how we brought him up-to do the best you can and give it your all. So I can't expect him to feel differently and I have to be proud of him, right?

George said...

Yes, it is meant to comfort you, and I think I know what you mean. While my elder son was doing his training in the Paras, one of his best friends was doing pilot training. I know who had a harder time of it.

At some time in his specialist training as an officer, the same son had to learn how to drive an armoured D9 bulldozer, as the army knows that until you have driven one of these monsters and understood its limitations, you can't give orders to a D9 driver. His friend (who didn't actually qualify as a pilot, but who did get to fly) was jealous!! Boys and their toys :-)

A Soldier's Mother said...

Hi Perlsand,

Yes, you have to be proud. But I can tell you from the other side - I assumed for so long that what Elie was doing wasn't dangerous because, hey, his commanding officer told me that Artillery holds the perimeter and doesn't go in. It was all lies - they go in; they are trained. Nights I didn't have to worry, I did; nights I didn't worry and thought all was fine...were nights I should have been paralyzed on the floor if I had known where he was and what he was doing. It is all in God's hands and our job is to love them, welcome them home and know in our hearts that we will handle everything one day at a time. Keep strong! Love from another soldier's mother!


Anonymous said...

Israel's army isn't what is traditionally classified in standard English as an Army. It a Defense Force like in Singapore. An the structure in the IDF is not that of a traditional Army. The IDF Ground Forces, IDF Air Force, IDF Navy Foce, an all of the other IDF Units are subbodinate to the IDF Chief of General Staff.

So don't say Army when referring to the IDF. And unless you know the specific name of the IDF Unit, like the IDF Artillery Corps, just say IDF!

In Israel, Soldiers wear green, Airmen and Sailors wear khaki. But all are Lumped together as IDF Servicemen and IDF Women.

If your son ends up being a pilot, he won't be a soldier and he won't be in the Army.

We other mothers of IDF Servicemen are proud of your boys and love reading about them!

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