Monday, November 23, 2015

Well, He's In

This morning came...as I knew it would...bright and early. We quickly loaded the car and drove off. Davidi...I have to begin calling him David - it's time to leave his childhood name behind...David looked forward. He would soon meet his friends and begin this journey together. I couldn't help but look back at the little boy, the first baby born in Israel.

I promised myself I wouldn't cry. Every time he said something that touched my heart, I reminded myself. You will NOT cry. You will NOT cry...hold it in, hold it together. Keep it light.

On the way, we picked up another young man who is also beginning the army today. It was not a time to speak of serious things, and we didn't. It wasn't the time to speak of feelings, and we didn't. Our trip to the induction center, this time in Tel Aviv and not Jerusalem, was filled with silly conversations - like whether you gain or lose time when the estimated time reported by the GPS changes. Silly but really there is little time for anything else, little interest.

I dropped them off - they walked off together, David and this young man who left his family in the United States to come to Israel to serve in the army. Hours later, I sent David a message asking how he was doing - his answer was that he had barely begun; that they had loaded them on a bus destined for the next stop, having finished the medical checks and paperwork.

It will be a long day for him but there is one thing that is different this time than last time. Actually two. The first is that though I expected to sob my eyes out after he left, I didn't cry at all. I'm not sure why. In the end, I got a hug and a kiss, said I would see him in a few days, and drove off. The second thing is that I can cheat...I can see when he goes online. It's a little thing, silly even, but it is a comfort.

I spent most of the rest of the day with my parents. My father had been in the hospital and is now in a rehab near the place where I dropped Davidi...David. As I walked to get something, cold water, I think, ice cold the way my father likes it, my phone beeped. David was sending me the first picture of him in uniform. And that was when I lost it. My eyes filled with tears.

I walked back to my parents and showed them the picture, along with several others. Each one smiled and wished me well, prayed for David's safety as he begins this journey.

And, as I sat wondering when I would speak to him again, the news flashed that there had been a terror attack moments from my office. Elie is there today and I knew that he would run towards the attack once he was notified, as a first responder. And that's what he did. By the time he got there, two Arab women...girls really, as they are/were only 15-16 years of age, had been neutralized - one dead, one in critical condition. They had stabbed a man...who, as it turns out, was an Arab man in his 70s and then, as security officers closed in on the area, they were both neutralized.

I called Elie and he is fine. He got to the scene but others were already there taking care of the wounded man and there was not much to do. So life in Israel today is as it was yesterday and as it will be tomorrow. More attacks, more sons and daughters stepping forward to serve their country. More parents worrying.

As I told my parents...one day almost done...one less day to worry about...day by day...each and every day, starting today.

And finally, more because I promised myself than because I feel the need, I will copy here the words I wrote on the first day I became a soldier's mother (Induction Day):
There is no ceremony, no great moment, just a gentle slide into a new world. He went in his direction without hesitation; I reluctantly went in mine and I tried all day not to think of where he was. Or, more importantly, I tried not to think of where he wasn't. From the time my children were born, almost without exception, I have known where they are. Perhaps not to an exact location, but close enough to know that they are within reach, within a short drive or call away. Now enters a time when more often than not, I won't know where he is, what he is doing. I will have to trust that no news is good news, that he is ok.
......
My son is a soldier in the army of Israel. Why that makes me want to cry, I can't explain when it is something that I have accepted, something in which I feel pride. For now, the fear and worry that threatens to push the pride aside will be my personal battle in the next day and week and year. My son is where I have always wanted him to be, doing what he must do. It is something that Jews have been unable to do for thousands of years - to defend their land and their right to live here. My son is a soldier in the army of Israel.

2 comments:

ProphetJoe said...

Thoughts and prayers for his safety, and your comfort, during his service to your great Nation. G-d Bless him, and you...

Batya Medad said...

And Paula, you are an Israeli, and this is the life you (and I) chose. Our children have been raised knowing they are part of a people and country which they contribute to.
You've done a great job!

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