Sunday, May 8, 2016

I Failed Again...

I'm not handling this soldier thing nearly as well as I think I handled it the last two times. For one thing, what fears I had, I usually managed to either joke away or hide completely from my sons. They knew they were loved; they knew we missed them when they weren't home, and they knew we worried. But mostly, they talked and I listened.

When Elie told me he was going to war, and it was clear there was going to be at least one war, I spoke to him calmly on the phone as if it was just another day. Only when I got off the phone did I cry. I was so proud of myself.

With my youngest, I fail completely. I cried even before he went in...the worst of all tears - the ones that bring tears to your son's eyes as he realizes what this is costing you. In tears, I told him that I couldn't live if something happened to him and with watery eyes, he promised me nothing would happen to him.

Friday night as we sat around the table, David began giving us a basic overview of his unit in war...the various roles his position would involve. There could easily be times that he would be at the front of the front, times he could be in the middle, times he might be in the back. I told him that even the back was too far front and he should call the army and tell them I don't agree.

But as it became clear what he would do, how he was being trained, my eyes filled with tears even though I asked them very nicely not to. David was speaking to all of us, his eyes more on his father as he answered a question. From across the table, Aliza saw my tears and I could see she was trying to think of  a way to stop them...then Davidi saw them and pretty much started to lie his way out.

The good news is that on a checkpoint, where they will be assigned soon, his position would be definition require him to be further back but in war...

I want to tell the army that I can't do this anymore. I want to tell them that I am screaming inside now, even with there being mere tensions on the border, not all out war.

I am counting months, figuring out where Davidi will be, when he will be considered "combat-ready." I am counting on the words of his commanding officer that if war breaks out this summer, Davidi's unit, still fresh from training, won't be sent in. The look on David's face when I told him that makes me believe his commanding officer is as well versed in the ability to lie to parents as Elie's commanding officer who told me Artillery soldiers guard from the perimeter and never go in...

My emotions are so out of control when it comes to David. I've begun to buy him massive amounts of chocolate, as I've watched him lose weight...he so doesn't need the chocolate but at the rate they are exercising him, at least it can't really hurt him.

I want to say I'll do better; I want to say I will not cry in front of him again. When I found out I was pregnant with my youngest child, I prayed to God. What right do I have to ask you for another perfect baby when you've given me four already...even that was too much to ask...and here I am asking for another! I was terrified while I was pregnant with her in a way that I never was with the others.

That is how I am today...what right do I have to ask God to let my third son pass through this experience unharmed after he has granted my prayers already twice...and yet it is what I pray for first in each thought. I wake with the thought; I sleep with the thought.

I have just finished a book that was harder for me to read than any other. It was a magnificent book, beautifully written, inspiring...a mother who lost two sons...two sons...Miriam Peretz. The book is called Miriam's Song and I'll write about it soon. She sent four sons to the army (and at least one daughter, I believe)...even after losing one in the army, she still managed to send another and another and another.

And still, after losing them, she writes of the positives, of faith, of love, of how much others have been inspired by her sons and how often she speaks to families, soldiers, students about the wonders in our world.

I salute her, I am in awe of her and though I will try to emulate her, I know that on Friday night I failed miserably. 


CDG, Yerushalayim, Eretz Yisrael Shlemah said...

I don't have any experience with this, Paula. But I do know one thing. You obeyed the hardest of the commandments, it seems. To come from cushy, comfortable America to hardscrabble Israel, stay and love her for what she is, and raise children to fight for her and for the Jewish People, is enough merit and right to ask HaShem for the safety of your third son in the army as far as I am concerned; if it were your 30th, I would say the same. It is merit for all the parents of our soldiers. Even in the face of leadership that doesn't seem to get it.

May H' protect him and all the soldiers who joined the army, not only because they were drafted in, but because they desire to protect and defend the Jewish nation. May H' give them wives and many children, and may we all continue on. And may Mashiach come forward and be crowned quickly. We need him so!

Anonymous said...

My eyes are filled with tears and my heart as heavy as yours.My first son is serving as a tank driver so I kinda thought that as long as there wasn't a war we were pretty safe.well little did I know he would also start going to check points very soon. I really had know ideal and I'm beside myself with fear. I feel selfish I don't want him in the army I'm neighbor lost her son in a car accident this year after he served for 10 years as a great combat solider so I know everything is in G_ds hands and I try to find my strength in my emmunah and are prayers and doing mitzvot and giving charity. My heart and prayers are with you and your brave son. Hugs Miriam

A Soldier's Mother said...

Hi Miriam,

Thank you for your comment. I hope I can offer you some comfort from my experience of two soldiers, months and months at checkpoints, and two wars...Most checkpoints are run properly and are very safe. War is the scary, unknown factor. At checkpoints, there is direct protocal on what each soldier will do, and a lot of backup.

And in a war, a tank driver is a good thing to be with the protection and strength of the tank all around him. It's always scary but the Israeli army really knows what it is doing and it is left to us to worry ...not so much because we have to but because that is what we do...and to help them get through it...I'm struggling with that last one myself...

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