Soccer in the Rain on Erev Yom HaZikaron.

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Today was as crazy as they come Sunday-wise. David is off on a man-adventure (manventure?) driving to Rochester (5 hours each way) to meet a man and hang out in his basement and garage talking about building stuff (I was probably more supportive of the venture 12 hours ago). I was left with 5 kids, 3 of whom had their first day of Sunday soccer. All three were scheduled on top of each other, with two boys playing at the same time in two different parks. Dov broke his glasses yesterday and three trips to the mall and $100 later he can see again. Yael had daglanut practice in the afternoon (I may actually believe that Cleveland is more Zionist a community than Israel). I was the chauffeur for all events. By my calculations, I drove to the soccer fields 6 times, the mall 3 times, the school once and the pizza shop once. But I’ll stop you from pulling out your violins just yet.

On trip one to the soccer field to drop Channan off, I realized it was drizzling. Nani can’t be outside in the rain because his hearing aids will break so I had to go home to get him a hoodie sweatshirt. As I raced off, I started to tear up. It’s his first season on the team. It’s his first time playing an organized group sport and he was going to be labeled different right off the bat. I was so disheartened that I took a moment to allow pity to wash over me. I brought his sweatshirt back to the field and put it on top of his brand new jersey. I wish I could tell you there was this Rudy-like moment where Channan and his hoodie just dominated the sport dazzling everyone with his natural talent on the field. Truthfully, he giggled a lot and stood still a lot. There were bursts of running now and then. At some point, his coach (huzzah Yakov) had Nani put his hoodie underneath his jersey. And then suddenly he did look like everyone else. Because most responsible parents put their kids in sweatshirts in the rain anyway. Crisis contextualized.

Tonight marks the start of Yom HaZikaron. When Nani was diagnosed with hearing loss, we spent a considerable amount of time falling apart quietly. In Channan’s world, we were pr mavens spinning his hearing aids as the best thing since sliced bread (and he loves sliced bread), but privately I was devastated. And one thought kept returning to me: he would never be able to be a combat soldier. Not because I want him to fight wars or go into battle but because I recognize the significance of being part of a larger narrative. No parent relishes war. I don’t know how to explain my sadness. I should rejoice in the ability to put my son behind a desk for his army service instead of jumping out of airplanes but I was sad for him (and me) because limitations will be imposed on him. But today he stood on a soccer field, in a hoodie, playing badly and I thought, we’ll be just fine.

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