Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Switch - Israel Style...

It's just after 6:00 p.m. here in Israel. Memorial Day is fast coming to a close. I lit a memorial candle last night. It burns for 24 hours. It is mostly gone and soon it will go out. At 8:00 p.m., Israel will do what it does each year at this time - a most amazing and hard to believe thing. It will, in an instant, switch from our deepest sadness to our greatest joy.

Before we can celebrate our Independence Day, we honor those who made it possible, by commemorating our Memorial Day. Soon, all over the land, we will go to parties, barbecues, and fireworks. I am on the flat of the roller coaster of life as a soldier's mother - Yaakov, Elie, Chaim and Shmulik and Haim - are all out of the army. One nephew is out - one remains in the army. Elie did Reserve duty a week ago - a few days with other commanders to give him a heads up on where they are and what's likely to come at them in the next few months. Most of the unit wasn't even called in...

For the most part, my sons are home while other sons and daughters guard our borders, our seas, our skies. Davidi has begun the process but it is the very early stages and it will be more than a year - perhaps even two or three before he enters the army. He has chosen something dangerous but I can't worry now - perhaps he will change his mind; perhaps the army has other plans. For now, the roller coaster moves along and, as is its way, I can't see any fall ahead (of course, that's the point of the roller coaster - you never can see a fall), but you have this wonderful sense of calm, here on the flats. Not today...not tomorrow...

I am, for now, in the back lines. My sons are not in the front lines of the army and as a mother, I have stepped back behind the other mothers with sons on the front. Tonight, in a few short hours, my older sons will go with their wives to celebrate. Davidi will join his friends on the ambulance squad to help young children who fall and hurt themselves during the celebrations, or older people who need medical assistance as thousands converge on the center park of our small city. Last night, they came in the thousands to cry; soon, they will come with laughter. As hard as Memorial Day has been, I can only hope that's how happy Yom Ha'Atzmaut (Independence Day) will be.

Happy Birthday, Israel - may you go from strength to strength.

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