My son was born at the end of the 6 day war. Naively I was sure that peace was at hand and that he would never have to be a soldier. Not only was he a soldier 18 years later, but now you… my little grandson, my first grandchild, that smiling lovely face, The sweet nature, the clever, intelligent boy, who grew into such a handsome man. Today you enlisted and the same feelings that I went through all those years ago, came back to haunt me today. I remember seeing him getting on the bus and saying to us “let’s get this show on the road” and now we are doing it all over again with you.
The same beautiful boys, the same tearful parents. Tearful, yet proud. So tense, so unhappy and so fearful, and so trying to hide it all. Israel is such a difficult country to live in. It is so hard to accept this as the norm. Yet where else would we live? I know that at the end of the three years, my grandson, and all the other children, will come out of this experience a mature person, reliable, lovely, and equipped to start life.
Yet looking back, this was the hardest thing I ever had to do, and now I see my daughter having the same feelings as I had, and having to go through the same anxieties. There is nothing I can say to her to ease the pain. Only that it passes and pride takes over. That you learn to live with the fear. And it will be ok. You know that it will be more than ok…. But this rite of passage, this solely Israeli rite of passage is so so hard to deal with.
In the words of someone cleverer than me…. Tomorrow is another day!