Battle Ready

David has been in the States for a week. And I’ve got another week left in this life of single parenting, of crawling into bed at 9:30 and falling asleep before the opening credits of whatever show I’ve downloaded. Another week of walking that dog (oy that dog!) and cleaning up his poop. I find that the main difference in my life while David is away is that I wear my sneakers every day. I feel like I need to be ready to sprint at any time. That bizarre feeling has been validated about a million times with one crisis or another in the past eight days.

Early this morning, Yael’s good friend’s mother passed away. We knew it was coming. By the end, we prayed for it to come (nothing is more heartbreaking than saying tehillim with your 9 year-old son). Stella Frankl had been diagnosed with stomach cancer 2 1/2 years ago. With a daughter in Yael’s class and a son in Eitan’s class, we traded kids back and forth for play dates. So I have watched this tragedy unfold mostly through the eyes of my 13 year-old daughter. There were times when I would call Yael’s teacher concerned with the way the school was handling the situation. From time to time there was a lack of sensitivity from really very well intentioned people. But today was different. Today, sadly, Israel did what it does best: perform really really well in terrible situations. Israel is used to people dying suddenly and tragically — car accidents, acts of terror, army-related deaths are not unusual. So, today, when Yael showed up at school, it was a place of warmth, of sensitivity and of efficacy. The homeroom teacher spoke to the class and then left to be with Yael’s friend, Rivka. The guidance counselor spoke to the whole class. They ran a special program. The guidance counselor then took Yael and Rivka’s closest friends out of class and explained what the funeral would be like. She subtly stood near the girls throughout the eulogies. It really was orchestrated down to the last second. I picked up Yael and her friends from school, stood two steps behind Yael throughout the funeral — ready to be there for a hug (there were many) but allow her to grieve with her friends.

On my morning walks with Jack (see my sneakers coming into play), I head up to Givat HaChish (I would call it a suburb of Alon Shevut but that would omit the messy politics surrounding it). It is up a big hill and at a certain point you can look out over Alon Shevut and all these surrounding hills heading down to Chevron. And I realize that in my life there is very rarely quiet. There are lots of kids and their toys make noise and they like to talk to me and there is a dog and a basketball court. But at 7:45 in the morning up a hill looking out over the hills in the Gush, there is quiet. And I like it. It almost feels spiritual.

I miss David. I am full of love/hate for the fact that he gets to go back into our last year life for a while, to visit and hang out with people I genuinely love so much. I follow it through facebook pictures of him smiling in the kitchens of our friends in Cleveland and NY. But, for now, I am happy to be here in my quiet hills and my noisy house.


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