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July 30, 2014 / 3 Av, 5774
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From Sad-ish to Glad-ish

Boring is one of God's greatest gifts, especially for a soldier's mother.
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I’ve been chugging along for the last few days trying to think what to write, not feeling there was much to say. The wonderful thing about the flat of the roller coaster is that time seems to stretch without a sense of urgency. It’s so boring on the flat of the roller coaster and I am grateful for boring. I am grateful that I can go to sleep at night and not worry that my phone may not be charged enough. Everything is okay; missiles aren’t flying and my sons are home safe. Boring is one of God’s greatest gifts!

Elie is studying engineering; Shmulik is looking into studying computers and Davidi needs a haircut! Aliza is cruising towards her 13th birthday, just as Davidi is in the final days before he turns 17.

My oldest daughter is studying and watching her baby gain words and actions every day. It is amazing how quickly babies learn – at least this one. I know they all must, but I just don’t remember seeing a baby understand so much, so fast, so early.

My children were the most amazing…how is it possible that a grandchild can be as amazing (perhaps even a bit more amazing in some ways?). He calls me “Savta” – grandma in Hebrew, and my heart melts. He gives me a kiss and I am unsure I can ever put him down. You can talk to him and he talks back. He was over today and when Aliza went upstairs for a minute, he walked over to the steps, looked up and called, “Iza! Down!” He walked around the room identifying things, calling out words. This is the beauty of the calm oasis of today.

Sometimes I feel that something is coming – and it’s scary. I don’t know what it is, if it is. I saw a report that 400 people were killed in Syria today – bodies are being found and there are reports of chemical weapons being used. Iran remains an open sore; a danger on the edge. The Egyptians aren’t particularly stable; God knows what is happening in Lebanon and Jordan issued a warning to Jews last week not to visit dressed in apparel that easily identifies them as Jews…for their own safety of course. Personally, I’d cut to the chase on that one and tell Jews not to visit, but never mind.

Driving home today with Elie on a beautiful sunny day, I felt this pressure, this concern as we drove up the mountain to Maale Adumim. It’s probably a combination of a lot of things. For one thing, I’m busy at work – two courses running, a new writer starting, and to top it off, we’re coordinating an amazing national conference for February 7 (www.megacomm.org).

The Executive Director of an organization wrote to me explaining their interest in attending the conference. The conversation turned a bit personal and wanting to show that I have an interest in the work they do, I mentioned that I was “A Soldier’s Mother.” I provided a link to the blog – hoping she would come here and read a bit and see that we share common interests.

And in the response – sadness turned to a smile. “Oh my goodness,” she wrote, “YOU are asoldiersmother?…I read your blog and have shared your pieces often.”

I guess it’s my ego, but I find that so cool. I like when people say, “oh, I’ve heard of you” or “I read your blog.” But, I just loved that “YOU” are a soldier’s mother? I’m not sure, but I think I wrote back, “I am, I am.” If I didn’t write it back, I certainly thought it.

I am, you see – for 31 days this year, an active soldier’s mother; and for 365 days a year for the next 25 years or so, the mother soldiers that can be called – any time, without warning. I’ve experienced the “Tzav Shmona” – an immediate mobilization and I can tell you that I pray to God I never experience it again. I can still feel the air leaving my body when I heard Lauren tell me that they were on the way back to Maale Adumim for Elie to get his army gear, that he’d been called in.

I don’t think I will ever forget those first 30 seconds. I heard Lauren telling me to sit down. It sounded like a mighty find idea and I did. I heard her talking, telling me everything was okay and honestly, I’m not sure what else she said. All I knew is that I had thought I wasn’t even ON the roller coaster and here I was flying down into the drop.

Maybe part of that impending feeling I was having is the knowledge that in just two weeks, Davidi goes for his Tzav Rishon. Today, I can tell him to get a haircut and get him out of school tomorrow night for an event in memory of his grandfather, for whom he was named.

The Tzav Rishon is the army letting me know soon enough, too soon, that darn roller coaster’s going to pick up speed and I know, I just know, it’s going to start climbing and falling again. What that nice note did was let me push those other thoughts away. I’ll go to sleep tonight with a smile and for that, I am grateful.

May God bless our soldiers this night and every night. May He keep them warm and watch over them as they sleep and as they guard us and may tomorrow come in health and safety for all of them.

Visit A Soldier’s Mother.

About the Author: Visit Paula Stern's blog, A Soldier's Mother.


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