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When I was expecting my first three children, I don’t remember worrying to the point of panic. I was, of course, concerned that each ultrasound or test should be okay, but once they were, I expected all to be well. I was young and ecstatic to build my family and within the span of 5 years, delivered three beautiful babies.

After Shmuli was born, we moved to Israel, my parents-in-law passed away and life because a bit more serious. When I became pregnant with David, I realized I was doing something crazy. After three healthy beautiful children, I had the nerve to ask God for another.


I worried all the time and begged God for one more miracle. How many miracles does any person have a right to ask. And months later, God answered my prayer with another miracle baby. And four years later, I was beyond terrified to ask yet again.

When my oldest son went into the army, I didn’t really know what to expect, what to worry about. It was all very general and I easily believed everything he told me. By the time the third went in, my fourth child, I was beyond myself with worry. Nothing comforted me other than to have him home.

Today, this morning, I got a message that David was out. Out of hell, out of Gaza. As hard as it was to have my sons serve Israel, I am infinitely proud that they have, that they do. In Israel, soldiers serve in the Reserves into their 40s. Somehow, a few years ago, I felt I should stop this blog because I was no longer a soldier’s mother 24/7. Now I realize that I am, that I will be, for years to come.

But at the same time, writing has become harder. I feel more like I am tempting fate and I don’t know if I have the courage to continue.

And my life is so much more full than it was a few years ago. My grandchildren are older; my youngest two are in university. Life’s challenges continue and only seem to get bigger.

Too much to decide on an early Sunday morning when the sun is shining but I guess time will tell. For now, all that matters is that David is out. But so many are in. The war continues.


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Paula R. Stern is the co-founder of Retraining4Israel (, a new organization working to help olim make aliyah successful. Paula made aliyah over 30 years ago with her husband and their three children. She lives in Maale Adumim and is often referred to as “A Soldier’s Mother”. She is now a happy wife, mother of five (including two sabras), and grandmother, happily sharing her voice and opinions with others. She is also a senior tech writer and lead training instructor at WritePoint Ltd. ( Please visit her new website: