This morning, Paula Stern – the blogger behind A Soldier’s Mother – put up a poignant post about the personal and emotional journeys that mothers of new IDF soldiers must make. With Memorial Day just around the corner in the U.S., we remember that here, too, parents are worrying about children who are serving their country in the armed services.
Every once in a while, I meet a mother of a son about to go in – a mother not born in Israel, but one like me who came later in life with a son who is now about to begin the journey, or a mother who struggles through this period while she is there in America and her son has come alone. It is a strange feeling to be here, knowing they are just at the start. I met one such mother last night – I’ve known her for years but this time she told me her son was finishing high school and this time, it was across that divide that I began remembering those first days, those first fears.
It’s so easy – as it was for others before me, to be on this side and talk. Of understanding and accepting that you take each day, one at a time; that he can’t call you and you can’t call him whenever you want. Of knowing that just because he says he will be home, it means nothing until he walks through that door and you see him. The memories come so fast; they’ve never really gone away.
She concludes with a prayer of solidarity: “With hugs and love, I can only tell [new mothers] to have faith, to always look up and know we are here waiting for them to join us. May the sons and mothers who begin that journey have safe travels all the days in the valley and may they know the pride and gratitude of those of us who wait here on the heights.” To which we can only add: Amen.