Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Parenthood, No Pressure

This period in Israel fills a normal person with existential thoughts, from the highs and to the lows and the scary, and back again.  Starting with Holocaust Remembrance Day [Yom HaShoah], moving onto a day dedicated to the Jewish and Israeli dead [Yom HaZikaron], transitioning into Independence Day and finishing with Yom Yerushalaim, I am dizzy, and my role as a mother seems to make each of these events even more pronounced.

All day on Yom HaShoah, all I wanted to do was run over to Raphaela's Gan and hug her, and never let her go.

On Yom HaZikaron I had many conversations with Raphaela about how grateful we all are for the men and women who guard our very lives, whether or not we are aware, and I told Raphaela that if she wants to join the army some day as a soldier, I would be proud.  Scared but proud.

(A friend of mine told me that if a child wears glasses but gets laser treatment, they can still have a perfect army profile.  "Raphaela the Fighter Pilot," hmm)

On Yom HaAtzamaut, after we decorated the house and the car with Israeli flags - "festooned" would accurately describe our technique and intention - I spent 24 hours playing out parenting fantasies in my head.  When we watched the ceremony at Herzl's grave, I told Raphaela that if she wanted to take dance lessons and appear as one of the youth performers, it would make me happy.  We talked about the ceremony honoring the top tier of soldiers in all units of the army, and I pictured myself sitting in the audience someday, a beaming Mother in a field of glowing parents.  When we watched the International Bible Contest, I considered how I would encourage Raphaela with her homework as she got older; not just to inspire her to achieve academic greatness, but also to push through and excel in whatever field of study, arts or sciences, that imbues her with passion and joy.

Driving home from the traditional Independence Day BBQ, from Gush Etzion through Arab villages, I felt even more grateful for the watchful eyes of our soldiers, and made a point of thanking the two men on duty at the checkpoint.

I can't help myself, seeing me and my daughter contributing great things to this 66 year young Jewish country, the place we call Home.