Tuesday, August 2, 2016

A Conversation that Ended in Tears

Good tears...sort of.

Yesterday, I wrote, "I hate the army." I qualified right away "not really" but I was upset. There was nothing reasonable that we could have done differently that would have resulted in David being on time. David told me not to call his commanding officers. The question now will be how upset he will be with me. But I did it.

I called his Platoon Commander. I really did. He was busy last night and said he couldn't talk...he told me to call him this morning. And I did. I was afraid he'd be impatient - he was anything but. I was concerned he would tell me that David could handle this on his own - he sort of did.

I told him that David doesn't know that I was calling...and he still doesn't. I'm tempted to write to him to tell him "don't kill me" but I won't...yet.

I told him everything that my heart wanted to say. He's a good soldier, I said, "I don't know if you know him."

"Of course, I know him and he is a good soldier."

I told him we left on time yesterday, even early. I told him that Davidi sent his commander an SMS almost an hour before he was scheduled to be there to tell him that we'd hit a traffic jam. I told him and I told him.

At one point, the Platoon Commander (Mem-Pay) said David is a big boy and can speak for himself. But he won't, I answered. He'll take the punishment, but he shouldn't. It isn't just. This is the first time he was late in eight months, I answered. And yes, he's a big boy. More, he's a man, I told him. That's what you did, you took my boy and you made a man. I won't say thank you for that. He laughed and said, "it had to happen,"

And I felt better, relieved. I was talking to someone's boy who had become a man the same way my boy did. "Yes, I know, but I don't have to say thank you."

I told him that I really don't call my sons' commanding officers. I'm not that kind of mother. But don't ruin the soldier you have created. Don't take his motivation away.

I told him how David considers the army his family, his brothers. I told him about the air conditioning going off on Shabbat and the Russian and the Druze turning it on for the others. Don't punish him for something that wasn't his fault.

And then he said, "we'll look into it." Progress.

"There were a lot of soldiers who were late yesterday," he said.

And I answered - maybe it was all for the same reason. And if that's true, there really was nothing they could have done. "We'll look into it and we'll be fair."

I hung up and wanted to cry...did a little. Good tears. My son is part of a just army. I don't know what they will decide to do. I hope they will reverse the punishment but I'll accept whatever they give. I don't know how other armies work. I only know how mine does.

And this one listened to a mother's voice. I heard him laugh and I heard him ask without words for my trust and I gave it. He could have brushed me off, certainly he could have cut me off. He didn't.

"We love our soldiers," he told me at one point and I answered that I know they do and therefore I'm calling for "justice." And to take a full day from a soldier for being late for 20 minutes...when that 20 minutes was completely not his fault...isn't fair.

He told me they would be fair. That's all I can ask but in many ways, that is everything.

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