Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Other Soldiers' Mothers

When I first started this blog more than eight years ago, I realized right away that I was just one mother of a soldier. There are hundreds of thousands of us in Israel, millions around the world. We are like all mothers but different. We do the same things every day - we work, we clean, we cook, we take care of our families, but we have one major difference.

It took me a while to realize what it was with Elie; I accepted it with Shmulik; I anticipated it with David. We are not whole people - there really isn't a better way to say it. We stand in a room but a part of us is in some distant corner of the country. We can talk to people, listen to others as they explain complex concepts and we can register and learn but still, somewhere in the vicinity of our heart, there's something missing.

We are aware of our son - literally every minute. If it starts to rain, we wonder if he is getting wet. When we close the windows as the cool evening air turns to chilly, we worry that he is cold. We hear an alert that the army is training in a certain area and wonder if he can hear the sounds of planes. All day long and sometimes in the middle of the night, we yearn for them in a way that is hard to explain.

When your child is first born, there is this feeling that you have - that you are always aware of them - when they last ate, when they were last changed, when they should go to sleep, about when they will wake up.

As they get older, they become more independent and do things on their own. It will take years before they learn to shower on their own and then the day comes when you have no clue when they showered at all, when they went to the bathroom, when they last ate, or what they ate.

Having a child in the army is like taking a huge step backwards. You still don't know all those time-related things that happen to them, but the knowledge of where they are, in a general sense at least, becomes your constant companion. You always know where your phone is. On a normal day, if you forget your cellular phone at home, you might enjoy the break, the chance to be anonymous, unreachable.

With a child in the army - being unreachable is not an option. I started this post intending to go somewhere else...and here I find myself back where I intended anyway.

David is fine - better than fine. He's good. He's taking the army as he should - not hard, not easy. But there are two other mothers who are on my mind. One flew into Israel today because her son was injured in a terror attack at the end of last week. The second has probably spent most of today in the hospital with her son after he apparently suffered hypothermia during a training exercise last night.

In both cases, I believe the sons will make full recoveries and return to their for the mothers...all I can do is hope they know there are many mothers sending them virtual hugs. It isn't easy, this journey we're isn't easy. 

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