Thursday, February 25, 2016

Three Months in a Life

Three months and two days ago, David entered the army of Israel (see He's In).

It has gone much as I expected it to - with few real surprises. I don't remember crying the first time I saw either Elie or Shmulik in uniform - this time, I did.

I've almost gotten used to seeing him in the uniform. He's lost weight; gotten so much stronger. They started with his unit walking a small amount and have built them up to almost 20 kilometer walks...and they'll keep it going until he can walk 3 times that amount.

He looks so good each time he comes home - I want to just stare at him. I cherish each picture even though I don't take many. In his mind, he is the same as he was.

He's been picked for "a very responsible job" in his unit (with thanks to a friend for that phrasing). I won't say what it is but it shows the army likes him and respects him and recognizes that he is a dedicated soldier.
Shmulik's Swearing-In Ceremony at the Western Wall

Today is his swearing-in ceremony. He will stand with hundreds of other newly recruited soldiers before the Western Wall, the last remnant of our Holy Temple. He will stand before thousands of parents, siblings, and guests and he will promise to protect the state of Israel, his fellow soldiers, all of us.

This picture is from Shmulik's swearing-in ceremony. Both Shmulik and Elie will be there today to see their younger brother follow in the path they too once took. David will be handed a Bible and a gun - two very important elements of who the modern-day Israeli is.

Shmulik after receiving his gun rifle and Bible
He will, for the next few years, dedicate his life to protecting all that we have built here, all that we are. A few more stomach is in knots. I can't even explain why. He has finished his basic training - finished it yesterday with a 16 kilometer trek that brings him today to stand before Israel.

With my life, he will promise...and I'll cry because I don't want his life promised to anything but his long future. I didn't attend Elie's swearing-in ceremony - it was held without parents, on the top of a mountain at dawn. I didn't cry at Shmulik's swearing-in ceremony; I felt only pride.

David posted a picture taken last night after the long hike. He looks great...I'm going to remember that he was smiling and that he's strong, dedicated and doing what he believes in. I'm going to try really hard to stop being so absurdly emotional. But I'm going to mark down three months off the calendar...three months until I can again sleep without thinking he isn't home, that he's out there somewhere, maybe cold.

I'm going to look at this picture again and again - Davidi about to return to base; Elie leaving for a week of Reserve Duty both with the same look on their faces...tolerance, acceptance, resignation. Their mother is going to be impossible and demand that she gets a picture of the two of them in uniform together. Maybe some day they'll smile at this picture and be glad I grabbed that moment.

For now, I'll hold on to the humor in their eyes. I am what I am, as they well know. Not the best mother in the world, but no mother could love them more. Not the most organized or rational, but we've gotten through this life together, David and me, for the past 20 years...with, God willing many, many, many more years to come!

So, in a short while, I'll go there and watch my youngest promise to do all he can to protect this land, this people, this life that we have built here.


Anonymous said...

ה׳ ישמור צאתו ובואו

Anonymous said...

Mazel Tov! May God keep all of Israel's precious soldiers safe and well! Jan

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