Last night, the siren sounded at 8 pm for Yom HaZikaron.
I didn’t expect the tears.
As the siren sounded, my children got up from the couch where they had been watching a cartoon and all stood at attention. Even as he stood, though, my five year old started to cry.
It might be easy to assume he cried out of fear: the siren is very loud and disturbing. My older son, like I do, associates the noise with rockets falling, even though we have never been close enough to hear a rocket fall. It would have been easy to say my younger son was crying because he was scared.
But when we asked him, my five year old told us he was crying for “all the lost ‘sabas,’ he said. Saba, the Hebrew word for grandfather.
He cried, even though he did not lose his Saba in a war.
He cried for all the sabas…and the men who would never become sabas.
For a moment, I worried the worries of an immigrant Israeli mother: What have I done? How did I bring my children to this country? How can I expose them to such pain? What does a five year old need to know of war and loss?
In the next moment though, I held him. And as he cried in my arms, I knew his tears were not the result of stories told to him at Gan. I also knew with certainty that even if we did not live in a country familiar with war and loss, and even if my child was not given at Gan the words to express what he felt in that moment, I knew that this sensitive child of mine would cry real tears in response to another’s pain.
I knew, as a mother knows, that his tears flowed directly from the Source. The siren simply opened the door.
8 thoughts on “Camaraderie”
Jen, that was beautifully written. I thought of you last night as the siren was going off and Aitan, Amir and I were standing at attention on our front porch because something happened that I felt like blogging about. I prepared them, telling them the siren would go off soon and they both showed me how to stand at attention. What *I* didn’t expect was that a few seconds into it, Aitan came to cuddle under an arm, still standing at attention the best he could, and then Avi Chai followed. As I held my 2 older boys, listening to the siren, I started to ball… Also wondering what I had done, what decision I had made, imagining both of them in uniform and other uncertain thoughts. I feel like our kids are growing up so much quicker here than back in the States.
Reading and crying……
Shira: I know what you mean about our kids growing up quicker here than in the States. And on my worst days, I worry about this. On my best days, though, I also feel that my kids are experiencing a more real, and truer life. That they are living life, in the present, self-expressed, in the way only Israelis who live here can.
Touching article. Praying for your family’s safety and Israel. What is Gan?
Christy: Thanks for reading and posting. Gan in Hebrew literally means “garden.” But it also refers to the preschool system.
Another beautifully written article. How sensitive Oliver ? is about other people
Hi Jen, welcome to Israel! And for sharing your experiences with us, May your time in eretz Israel be blessed.
chag hatzma’ut sameach
esther from Zichron Yaacov