To be an Israeli mom
By Lihi Lapid
To be an Israeli mom is – before you’re even an actual mother, to wait for the ultrasound exam to learn that everything is ok, but when the doctor says “it’s a boy” – to immediately imagine your fetus a soldier in uniform, with road dust in his hair, his rifle hanging on his shoulder and his eyes full of innocence. And to start being afraid.
To be an Israeli mom is to teach your daughter not to show weakness in front of her third grade classmates, because she has to be strong, so she doesn’t fall apart in front of her tough commander at basic training as a rookie soldier.
To be an Israeli mom is to complain about your country quite a bit, but always tell your children it’s the best place in the world.
To be an Israeli mom is to be involved, to “consume” the news like a drug addict, to protest for or against, and always feel responsible for what’s going on here, because it’s yours. It’s your state, and it’s your children that will protect it. And to know that you don’t have the option to be indifferent, not in this country. And sometimes – to agonize that you didn’t protest more.
To be an Israeli mom is to know about the situation no less than the staff sergeant, the commanding officer, and even the Chief of Staff. And if you meet them, to also let them know what YOU think should be done.
To be an Israeli mom is to be scared when the sirens go on, but to remember it’s important that your children don’t stress out, and won’t be afraid, so you take a deep breath and tend to them first, like you couldn’t be more calm and you’re not scared one bit.
To be an Israeli mom who lives by the border, near Lebanon in the north or Gaza in the south, is to be a part of a chain of the wonderful brave Israeli women, for whom guarding their homes is also guarding their country. And to hope this time would be the last.
To be an Israeli mom is to see field-training-uniform hanging on the laundry rope, and know how difficult it is to iron them. And to also know that the mother or father who irons them might shed a small tear which will probably be absorbed into the cloth, without leaving a trace, but which will have come from deep within the heart.
To be an Israeli mom it to not be able to look at the photos of our killed soldiers, and try not to think how they look like your own son. And then look at the photos and think it anyway.
To be an Israeli mom is to see a bereaved mother and feel how you run out of air, fee the sharp pain in your chest. It’s to know that that bereaved mother is not someone else – she is a mom exactly like you. And that it could have been you. And through that to feel you are soul sisters, and hurt with her. To want to hold and hug her, but at the same time to know you will never be able to actually ease her pain, and that there are no words.
To be an Israeli mom is to want one day to be a grandmother too. To be an Israeli grandma is to not to believe that both your grandson and granddaughter are being drafted to the army. After all, you were the one who told grandfather, when he went to war, that by the time you had grandchildren this would end. And to wonder whether it will ever end.
To be an Israeli mom is to know that all you want to give your children is security, and to realize that this is the one thing you cannot actually promise them. And still know for a fact that Israel is the most secure place for your child. (I know this cannot really be explained to anyone who is not an Israeli).
To be an Israeli mom is to want peace, but not be willing to give up safety or security. It’s to go through the current month in Israel and to know that an Israeli mom deserves to grow her children quietly. It’s to also know that one day peace will come.
Because peace is the promise of the Israeli mother. And she is not the one to give-up.
Lihi Lapid , 46, is an Israeli author and journalist who deals with contemporary women’s issues. Her popular column is published in the weekend supplement of one of Israel’s major newspapers. Lihi has written two bestselling novels, her Book “Woman of Valor” was published in English this year. Her last book “I can’t always be wonderful” is a collection of the best columns from the last 10 years. She is a married and a mother of two.