We're safe for now: Raising children in Netivot

I thought I’d share this, because some of you have no clue what’s going on halfway across your own country.

October 10, 2012 21:20
3 minute read.
Netivot home damaged by Gazan Grad rocket

Netivot home damaged by Gazan Grad rocket 370. (photo credit: Courtesy IDF)


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I thought I’d share this, because some of you have no clue what’s going on halfway across your own country. And others have no idea what’s happening halfway across the world. And I’m one of those naïve believers who keeps thinking, if people only knew what we live through.

So it’s 10:20. Night. Husband’s on the way home from a meeting in Tel Aviv (yes, the other part of the country). I have successfully maneuvered all three children, ages four, two and three months, into bed.

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Going over e-mails is getting boring... and suddenly there’s that sound. It takes a split second to recognize it, since I’ve heard it over and over again in my head for the past four years, ever since my oldest son was born (a few months before Operation Cast Lead, December 2008), so I need to confirm that I’m not just humming that old tune. But, alas, it’s that same siren. Yup, and it’s definitely coming from our town, not from one of the regional councils a few miles away. And now comes the tricky part.

Which child do I pick up first? It’s a first for me because this time I’m alone, with three children at home, all asleep, none in a protected area (i.e., clear of windows and external walls). Do I go for the baby? Last time I grabbed him out of his crib, waking him ,and decided that this is how traumas begin, so I told myself that next time I’d just wheel him in with his carriage, so as not to interrupt his peaceful baby sleep.

But what about my two-year-old daughter? She’s the one who’s really having a hard time, stopping short every time an ambulances passes, mistaking it for a siren.

After sitting up with her for an hour and a half after the last midnight siren, I told myself that next time I’d carry her in gently, so as not to wake her at all. But what about my oldest son, the one who has been living for four years under the missile threat, who is most aware of the situation and reminds me every time we visit our parents that there, up north, we are safe.

Forget the emotional consequences, he’s on top of a bunk-bed I can’t climb up! This all takes a split second. I don’t have much more than that; a little more than half a minute before the rocket lands. I run for my oldest, hoping to wake him to get him to climb down the ladder. Yeah, right.


I climb up the ladder, pull him toward me by the leg, hold him carefully as I run toward a safe area, and lay him gently on the carpet.

Back to kids’ room. Have no idea how I got number two out of the tractor-turned-bunk- bed trenches below. Bring her into safe area. On my way to my room to get the baby I note that the siren has stopped.

Grab stroller and wheel into safe room just as loud explosion is heard.

We’re safe. For now.

Two oldest are still sleeping. Baby stirring.

He’ll need to wait a minute or two since I can’t really stop this thumping in my chest, and I’m not sure how that tastes.

Then I’ll calm him down, put him back to sleep and remind myself that next time I should try to be a little more gentle with him.

Back to those boring e-mails. Boring is good.

The author lives in Netivot, Israel.

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