I took all five of the boys to watch their brother play in his last basketball game tonight with his 8th grade team. They were playing against their fathers and it was a great game with a lot of laughs and a nice break from the reality of our lives right now.
But the second we got back into the car for the seven minute car ride home, reality smacked me in the face.
Those of you who know me know that my life is filled with battling lions (fake ones), fighting off bad guys (fake ones) and hanging from ceilings (real ones).
Tonight was an entirely different conversation. The kids didn’t skip a beat. And by the end of the car ride I had tears streaming down my face and I was trying to come up for air.
These were hot tears of desperation, of profound anger, of anguish.
Why, oh, why should this be my children’s reality right now. Why should this be what they know?
Here was our conversation. My thoughts are all in italics.
We enter the car.
Zeli (5): Why do the Arabs hate us?
Dear Gd, really? This is the first thing that comes out of the mouth of my five year old? FIVE YEAR OLD.
Amichai: (9): Because we live here. Because we want to keep living here.
Amichai: How did it happen? Like did the boys get grabbed at school? Were they eating lunch when the Arabs came and got them?
The fear is so present – so pervasive. It can happen at the lunch table, my son thinks. It can happen anywhere, anytime. How do I reassure him, while being honest?
Zeli: I know what happened. (Remember he’s FIVE). An Arab dressed like a Jew. He had a kippah and tzit tzit and he drove on the street and picked them up. And then he didn’t let them go to their mommys.
Why, why, why does he know these details that we haven’t shared with him? How do we make him feel safe?
Amichai: But where are they? How can they just be kept somewhere? How can that happen?
Pause. The quiet of the car is permeated by my gulps, as I try to hide my tears.
Amichai: I know what we need. We need some real superheroes. We need superheroes to come and save our boys. That’s what we need.
Zeli: Yeah. That’s what we need.
And the car ride ends.