Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The First Thing You Buy a Soldier

What's the first thing you buy a soldier...when that soldier is your son?

I'm trying to remember.

I remember going shopping with Elie. I remember being lost and I remember reminding myself not to cry. I remember listening to the store clerk explain that I didn't have to buy everything on that ridiculous list and I remember him telling me what we should buy...and then helping us assemble it all. 

I remember going with Shmulik and Chaim. They both went into the army together and since Chaim's family was in the States, I wanted to go with him. He paid for the stuff (I think I bought him a few undershirts) but mostly it was just trying to be there for him a bit...and for Shmulik, I felt like I knew what I was doing.

It would never have occurred to me to buy things for Elie or Shmulik without them there. So there was no "first thing" that I bought them - more likely, it was kind of everything all at once.

I haven't gone shopping with David yet. He's got three weeks left before he goes in and I think I'm in denial. Today, David and Elie were talking about the army. I didn't really listen, but I saw that Elie was sharing; Davidi was asking questions. How often would he come home...and more.

Meanwhile, I already bought the first thing for the army - green short sleeved undershirts. 100% cotton. I was in store and I saw them and thought - them...and so I did.

There have been many times in my life I wished the clock would stop. Most often, it was because I loved where I was in my life and wasn't ready to move on. This time it is because I don't want to get there.

Three weeks to remember what it's like to be the mother of a soldier in the army. Three weeks before I start to worry every minute he isn't home. Three weeks before he walks out the door with me not knowing, for sure anyway, when I'll see him again.

Three weeks in which I have to remember how to smile even when inside I am crying. Three weeks before I have to remember to scream only in the inside and more, to make sure nothing shows...not in my eyes, not with my hands.

Three weeks is not long enough. How can he be 19 and going into the army?

It happened so fast...too fast.

We know that he is going into the Ground Forces.

We know that he will be challenged physically and has already been running with his friends to get in shape.

We know nothing that will prepare us for the coming years because you don't do that as a parent of a son in the army. You don't just breathe. Breathe in. Breathe out. Today he is fine.

Today he is upstairs sleeping in his bed. He didn't take out the garbage like I asked and I'll bet you a free pizza he won't remember to take it out in the morning.

In three weeks, I start to live again...One. Day. At. A. Time.

1 comment:

Netivotgirl said...

May Hashem keep David in a protective embrace from the moment he is inducted. May He guard your son's every movement together with all our boys and may he return safely to you at the end of his service. In the meantime, I pray you find the inner reserves of strength to keep that smile on your face despite the fear in your heart. Paula, remember that all Am Yisrael is praying for him daily as well as for all of our brave IDF personnel. They are Eretz Yisrael's holy warriors!

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