I can’t see my son for another month, maybe more.
Today, I did the next best thing. I saw yours. Well, perhaps not your son, or daughter, exactly but someone’s.
Corona is impacting all of us in one way or another. For some, it’s a death sentence; for others, it’s months of lingering symptoms. For many around the world, it’s economic fear and pain; for still others, it’s the psychological ramifications of social distancing and lockdowns that are taking their toll.
My oldest son enlisted last month – with tearful goodbyes and hopeful blessings. With the second lockdown looming, we had hoped that he’d make it home beforehand, but we were also hoping, of course, that the army could figure out a way to keep all of our children safe. So, it came as no surprise that they’ll be in lockdown at their bases for the next month, or more, or less. Who really knows? While my heart is heavy (for so many reasons; whose heart isn’t heavy right now?), I decided to do the next best thing today to seeing my child serving his nation. And that was to see yours.
When I serve coffee, cake and cold drinks to your soldier, your child, at our Pina Chama in Gush Etzion, I hear you sighing with that relief we all feel knowing our child is being spoiled and loved. Maybe you don’t know exactly where your soldier children are today, but I’ve got them covered with a smile (under my mask), and encouraging words (said behind the glass pane), and some items to warm (or cool) their bellies.
I can’t solve the world’s Corona problems. I can’t single handedly get Israel out of the dubious (and infuriating) distinction of having the highest infection rate in the world per capita. But I am soothing my achy heart, my own worries and fears, by serving your children – our children – as they serve away from you and their homes. And next to my home today.
Let’s hope you’ll be doing the same for mine when next you see him. Tell him his parents love him; his brothers miss him; tell him his warm bed and warmer food are waiting for him for next time he gets to leave. Make sure you’ve got your mask firmly over your nose and mouth when you speak to him and you stay 2 meters away. I want him home as much as you want yours by you – and the more careful we are, the more chance we have of making those dreams come true for all of us.
This article first appeared on the Times of Israel blog.