Where my next son will go in the army. Elie received orders for artillery -I didn’t know how lucky I was until a few weeks into his training. His commanding officer came to visit our house, sat for hours, and explained. The funny thing, of course, is that Or didn’t tell us the truth. Well, he told us the truth as he knew it, but the army shifted things.
His truth was that in war, artillery remains many kilometers behind. Trajectories and angles and physics – it doesn’t matter to a mother’s heart. All that matters is that since we live in such a small country with enemies right on our borders, most of the time, artillery simply parks itself and shoots.
The second part of Or’s explanations proved to be false. He said that when military operations were needed within Arab cities, artillery units were used around the perimeter while special forces went in. Well, sometimes that’s true…often it’s not. Elie’s “Ima, did you know there were tall buildings in Kalkilya” was just one time I became aware that Elie too entered and “operated” inside Arab villages when needed.
I learned my way in the Israeli army within artillery…and now as Elie finished and Shmulik begins…I know I have a new path to take. He hasn’t gotten that letter that tells him what unit he will be in but so far, it seems it will be one of three: Kfir, Givati, or Tanks.
Nothing is final in the army until…well, until it is final. We are weeks away from Shmulik entering the army – already my stomach does a bit of a dance when I think of it. Elie is weeks away from exiting the army – already I am forcing myself not to think away these last weeks. Next week, he spends attending a course that teaches him of the rights and benefits he will receive after he leaves the army…discounted courses and educational benefits, loans and more.
Israel is preparing to thank my son for his service…as it prepares to take my next son. A door closes and another opens. One son leaves the army as the next goes in. Soon…soon I will learn what new assignments there will be, what new worries and challenges.