Monday, September 12, 2016

September Realities

September in Israel brings a return to school, a return to working on a somewhat more normal schedule. It means more traffic, a faster paced life. Mostly.

Last year, Aliza decided to go to a sleep way school after the local school just became wrong for her in so many ways. I think the school should have been forced to leave the neighborhood; not the neighborhood kids leave the school, but an important lesson for us all is that you have to deal with what is, not what you wish things were.

David is settling into a nice schedule. Army, home. Army, home. This week, he went back to his yeshiva for Shabbat. Most of his class went into the Givati unit; a few were sent to the Tank brigade. This weekend, they were off and so they went to the yeshiva, as did the Givati boys.

Afterwards, Davidi called and asked if he could go to a barbecue at the home of one of the other soldiers from his unit. That is one of the ironies I noticed long ago about the army. How do you know your son is doing well in the army, making friends and living the experience, not just surviving it?

They spend all week together, so many packed in a room, forced to shower together, eat together. There is little privacy, little "alone" time. And when they come home, what they often do, is get together with their unit. Last time, it was a pool party at the home of his Mem-Mem ("Department" Commander...George - help, what's the right translation here?). This time, it was one of the soldiers.

The road to where this soldier lives is much more central than where we live and one of the roads that has always scared me. It is narrow in many places, with hills that come very close. It is, in a very real way, a terrorist's ideal topography and many cars have been firebombed, stoned, even shot at. There are few places I will hesitate to go in Israel but there are places where I hold in the fear. There are two places on the road to Aliza's school in Kiryat Arba/Hebron; and this other road is another place.

He's 20 years old. He's faster than I am; stronger than I am. He's been trained. He has a rifle. To forbid him to go is to give in to terrorism. I compromise and ask him to call me when he gets there. That's my mother's fault. She used to make us do that in the States.

Everyone knows that if you have to call your mother when you get home, God will ensure you get there safely. Or at least that's what I think is the rule.

So Davidi called me when he got there and then, in a quiet voice, he said to me, "His mother reads your blog."

A few times, people have come up to me and asked me if I was "a soldier's mother." By far, the cutest thing was when a man came up to me, looked at me, looked at Elie, and said, "you're a soldier's mother's son!"

I don't know whether David was embarrassed at having been identified as one of "a soldier's mother's sons" or not but it made me smile.

He went back to the army on Sunday afternoon with a box of brownies, a load of clean clothes, and hopes he'd be home in two weeks. Aliza left for school. I'm home emptying out my bedroom, hoping that somehow we'll all build the new closet we bought so that I can put all this stuff back into a new, rearranged bedroom that will somehow be the one I've always dreamed of having.

We'll see about that. In the meantime, the summer is over, the nights have just a tiny, tiny bit of a chill in them (well, except for last night). But it's getting dark a tiny bit earlier, the traffic has returned. The kids are back in school...even two of the grandchildren are now officially into the "system."

September realities.

1 comment:

George said...

mem-mem is platoon commander.

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