We have this pot I bought many years ago. It is one of these old pots that simply fits many uses…and somewhere along the way, I lost the cover…probably in the move we made about six or seven months ago…wait, it was ten months ago. Anyway, we were cooking for Shabbat – I was busy with one thing, Elie was about to start something else, and Davidi was mixing the dough for cookies when Elie pulled out he pot, thinking it would be the perfect size.
“Where’s the cover?” he asked me.
I thought for a second and then answered, Ï haven’t seen it in forever and a day,” I answered.
Elie started to look in some of the cabinets and then turned to his little sister, “Aliza, where were you forever and a day ago?”
Well, he used a different pot and we still haven’t found the cover…but it is nice to have him home. He’s looking into work and study…enjoying the time off. The army paid him thousands of shekels as part of his discharge and he’s locked most of it in an investment account to earn a bit of extra money. He showed me a statement from the bank. He had made 64 agurot in the past month…that comes to about 15 cents.
Well…for the first time in his life…certainly the first time in the last three years, his life is his own, his time for him to schedule. It’s a strange and free period and I honestly don’t think he realizes what a special time in his life it is. Soon enough, he’ll fill his time again and make plans and commitments.
For now, he is young, healthy, and free. I love that our close relationship seems to continue in so many ways. He has returned to the Elie of before the army in some ways – he’ll fight with his brothers and younger sister…or actually, I should say youngest brother and sister because they are all that is here to fight with. But he is so much more helpful than he was before he went into the army…so much more aware of his strength, his height…and even his intelligence.
And, he is very protective of me in ways that he never was before, more respectful in his tone and demanding the same respect from his siblings. He will not allow them to raise their voice to me…it is a lesson we teach our children and I would quickly intervene and demand that respect before addressing the needs of a child…even one who is upset and in need. But before I have a chance, Elie will stop them, “watch how you speak to Ima,” he will warn them…
Another great contribution is the time and knowledge he gives to Shmulik. Elie had to learn his rights in the army; Shmulik’s path is, in some ways, easier. Which is good because Shmulik seems to be have a more difficult and demanding path. They are now up to 8 kilometer walks…and by walk, I don’t mean anything close to a leisurely stroll.
Shmulik was sick this last week…I’m not particularly impressed this time with how his commanding officers took care of him, despite promises the week before. They were out in the field – it took them two days to bring Shmulik back to base…and another day and a half to finally get him to a doctor. And, when he’d finally seen one, he was given time to rest on base. They do not send soldiers in basic training home, the doctor explained to Shmulik, unless it is really an emergency and so he suffered his stomach virus too alone for my comfort. I finally did something I have never done before – I called his Mem Pay – the commanding officer’s commanding officer (or perhaps a level above that even). Omri assured us that they took care of our sons and so I called and explained that Shmulik needed a doctor to see him. Omri assured me that Shmulik would see a doctor the next day – which finally happened.
Omri assured me that he “personally” would go check on Shmulik…well, he did send someone, so I guess that almost counts. He said he would make sure Shmulik was drinking…my main concern, and would even get him something with sugar…a juice or something…well, he didn’t do that either and so Shmulik drank only water…but at least he was drinking.
My biggest complaint (which I tried to tell to Omri…but unfortunately, he couldn’t answer the phone and though the person who answered it said Omri would call back…he never did)…was that when the doctor said Shmulik could rest, what that meant was that he wasn’t allowed to do physical training but was allowed to be commanded to do some light things on base. The amazing part was that the light thing he was commanded to do was to wash dishes…that was why I called Omri.
Where is the logic of asking a sick soldier to wash dishes? It doesn’t take much intelligence to know that was a really stupid idea…I get the logic of not sending Shmulik home; I understand the need to give him something to do…but dishes?
Anyway, I am grateful that Shmulik is now home for the weekend. His stomach is still bothering him, but not as bad as it was. And as I worried this past week about Shmulik being sick…I reminded myself that the army commitment doesn’t last forever and a day. Six weeks have passed…still many more to come, but not forever.
The army has a logic all its own…a way of training. It is not for us to question…I knew that when Elie went in, while Elie served, and I know it with Shmulik as well. One day at a time…and today he came home.