children, happiness, Israel, life in Israel, parenting, terror

Bathtub Bands

My kids are constantly reminding me that there is life outside of today’s news. My big boys can’t be sheltered. They follow the news more closely than do I (for better or for worse) and they know through Whatsapp, Facebook and everywhere else what’s happening every second.

We check in with them and make sure they are doing as well as can be expected. We try to process together and to keep their fears at bay as much as is realistic.

But the little guys.

Well, the little guys don’t have a clue that anything is happening in Israel right now. And that’s the way I hope it remains.

I remember when we first made Aliyah 11 years ago and were fresh to Israeli culture. A terrorist attack occurred one morning and we went back and forth about whether or not to discuss it with the kids when they came home from school. But before we could even open our mouths, they were already telling us about it and had already talked about it in class.

We could spend hours discussing what the right psychological stance is here. Do you tell 4 year olds about the things going on around them? Do you clue in 7 year olds in if no one else is? Do you get mad at the school for taking that choice away from you? (Not really…they usually know what they are doing better than do I in terms of these things.)

Certainly, the kids who can understand it need to know to be vigilant and aware.

But, there are times when it’s fun to live in ignorant bliss, and when it’s even more fun to be part of it with the kids.

Recently, my 7 year old drew this…

…and I stared at it, holding back my tears. Because it’s so gloriously innocent, so refreshingly happy at a time when the rest of us are having trouble getting through the day.

And of course, as we so, so often do in Israel, I found myself flipping from the happy to the sad.

I looked at his picture and wondered if the Henkin children will ever draw pictures of this wonder and naiveté again. And I wondered if the many, many other orphans and victims of terror will as well.

As I put the picture up on the refrigerator, one of my kids was getting ready for the bath. “Mommy,” he said, “Can I bring music down to the bath tub?”

“Um, I guess,” I said thinking it was a bit funny since no one had every suggested such a thing before.

While I was wrapping up dinner with the littler guys, I vaguely heard the music turn on. By the time I came downstairs, I simply stood by the bathroom laughing and admiring. One of my kids was in the bath, with a hairbrush as a microphone, belting out the songs at the top of his lungs. He was the bathroom performer, all wet and singing his heart out to his fans.

I smiled, loving his spontaneity and his ability to be so free in the middle of so much chaos. And I quickly gathered the other little brothers together in the tub with their own hairbrushes and watched their band form and perform.

These are the moments that get us through. The ones that give us the strength for another day and the magical belief that things will turn out OK. 

Or at least that they are OK for that brief moment.

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