Dafna Meir, faith, Otniel, parenting, terror

Craving the Chaos of Everyday Life

(I published this piece today at The Times of Israel. I’m placing it here for those who wouldn’t see it there.)

I want to curl up into a ball at the moment and disappear. I’ve been wanting to do so all day, and have obviously been fighting the burning urge. 

Because you see, I have as many things as you do to get done today. I’ve got work to take care of and kids to get off to school and laundry to do.         

But if you live here, in the heart of Israel, as I do, then you know that I’ve also got tears streaming down my face. I’ve got uncontrollable, gut-wrenching tears because a mother of six, a mother who looks like she would be a friend of mine, was butchered in her own home in front of her children last night.

So as I got my kids off to school today and I went through my list of things to accomplish, it included a few more things than just doing the grocery shopping and getting homework done.

And this, really, is why I want to crawl into bed. Because life is full enough without these insanely difficult and debilitating extras. 

Your life in Maryland, New Jersey, Arizona or Maine is busy. It’s crowded and full and sometimes it’s hard to breath if you’re a busy mom because you’re just so….busy.

But when I sat down at work today and started to put the pieces together, I simply wanted my bed. Because I realized that the husband of the beautiful woman murdered in front of her children yesterday works at my son’s yeshiva. And that means that my son’s degrees of separation from this attack vanished before my eyes. But what I hadn’t counted on, was that my degrees of separation disappeared as well.

Because Natan, the husband and father, wasn’t just Natan. He was Natan with whom I’ve been working virtually on a project for the last few months. He was Natan, the incredibly soft spoken and lovely man who exudes warmth and comfort.

It was Natan that I watched all day as he went from Otniel, where they had a service for his wife and where he leaned on and held up his six children, to the cemetery where he eulogized his bride.
As I sat there at work, trying to stay focused on the tasks at hand, with my mind swimming, there was another attack.

This time, we had to get our co-worker out of his meeting. Because you see, the attack was against a pregnant woman in Tekoa. And our co-worker lives in Tekoa, with his pregnant wife.

And there are days like this when it is simply…too…much.

But lately, almost every day seems to have this edge of being too much, of barely hanging on.

And we’re hanging on while we are showing up for those dentist appointments that we’ve scheduled for the kids, and juggling trying to write a Dvar Torah for the second grade child that won’t completely embarrass him while we wait for the 8th grader to get home from school to do the typing; and we’re hanging in there through the SMS messages that remind us to keep our doors locked and to look over our shoulders – even in our precious yishuv, in our home that is supposed to be our reprieve.

And we’re hanging in there, even as the 8th grader searches for schools and tries to find the right match for himself and the fourth grader asks to make cookies in our house in the afternoon with a friend. And there is a problem with my gums, but who has time for problem gums? And my 2nd grader comes home crying from the bus because the kids refused to sit with him because he’s wearing red basketball shoes today. And as my 4th grader explains, “Oh yeah, Mommy. That’s a thing. Because you know – Hapoel.” As if that’s supposed to mean something to me.

And the combination of the little, everyday things that need to be done, accomplished, soothed, completed, and the major, paralyzing and seemingly insurmountable things that need to be lived through – is simply too much.

And I recognize that there will be better days. That I won’t feel this way forever of wanting to get into bed and remain there for the future.

And I know it’s a victory that I made it through the day without completely falling apart. And that I haven’t climbed into bed and pulled the covers over my head. And that I have tried to show up for my kids, and smile, and be there.

But right now, my thoughts are only of Dafna Meir, Natan Meir, their children and our country that so very badly needs a reprieve and a chance to go back to the chaos of everyday life in its regular form.

Because today, it really is too much.

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