I’m Just Lame

I can’t explain it but the older I get, the more my children seem in control, and the quicker I seem to lose mine. On the other hand, clearly, I have to ask myself what is wrong with me?

Today, we joined hundreds of other people in the national past time of independence day – the barbecue. Some do this at home, but many, many people – grab their barbecues, the meat, the bread, tables and chairs, mats and I have no idea what else, and go off somewhere outside. For the last few years, we’ve been going very close to our city, to the wadi (dry river bed) near our house. This area is sectioned off once a year, secured by border guards and private security, and then filled with music and people.

The army used to bring tanks and jeeps for people to explore – but this year, for the first time, they didn’t and so it was really only a barbecue bonanza. By law, any large gathering has to have security, ambulances, and whatever onsite. The city sent two ambulances and two fire trucks but what was nice was that the teams all brought family along so that they too could have their communal cookouts!

I love going there because it’s close, almost no traffic, and just so relaxing. Years ago, when Aliza was very little, she and Amira were digging with two small sticks. I asked them what they were doing, and Amira answered that they were digging to China…and Aliza took it seriously. Since they were using tiny branches, their deep exploration only succeeded in displacing about an inch or two of dirt, but it was wonderful. I have such great memories of this place. Each year, I marvel at how relaxing it is. We’ve sat in a few places, but a few years ago, we found what we consider the ideal spot.

Why few others grab it, we have no idea but it is a bit of a climb and not something you are going to want to do with young children. You park your car and then climb up a short distance and then, under the trees, with this wonderful breeze, you just sit and love it. It was very hot – in the sun…but we were shaded the whole day. It’s a pain to get up; a pain to get down…but ah, while you are there, it is heaven!

We shlepped a table and chairs, and so much more – but it was wonderful. A nice-sized barbecue, cooler, several bottles of drinks, corn on the cob…I better stop before I get tired just thinking about it all. We were deep into the hamburgers and potatoes, just before the wings and the corn. Elie and Lauren were manning the barbecue for most of the time; the “older” people were just sitting around talking or munching.

And then, as I stood up, I saw a woman screaming and people running to her, including several security people. I called out to Elie and Lauren to tell them something was happening – it clearly looked like some sort of medical emergency and my automatic response was to turn to Elie. He took off – Lauren behind him (impressive considering she was wearing a long skirt and climbing down). Elie called out to tell me to take over the barbecue as he ran down the side.

By then, I saw the local ambulance had pulled out of its parking spot (dozens of their medics and volunteers were having their own barbecue on the next hilltop). The woman kept screaming while I could see others were clearly taking care of someone on the ground. So many thoughts went through my mind – I thought someone had been burned, or perhaps worse.

What bothered me was how sick I felt in my stomach, nerves, upset. I was worried about where Elie and Lauren were and while flipping hamburgers and chicken wings, kept trying to focus on the people. I saw a glimpse of Elie, then of Lauren. I saw Elie pulling off gloves as they finished loading the patient into the ambulance and then, though the ambulance pulled out, it simply returned to its parking spot near the other hill while inside they treated the young man who had apparently passed out. Dehydration, maybe – who knows. I saw Lauren take a bottle of water to the back of the ambulance and then, calmer (me, not them), I saw that things were returning to normal.

Elie and Lauren climbed back up to our perch and the barbecue resumed. A while later, another ambulance arrived and the boy was transferred from the Intensive Care ambulance to a regular one and taken to the hospital. I’ve had this sense of “panic” – too strong a word, but there you go – before. I felt it that time, many months ago, when I realized the Elie, Shmulik, AND Chaim were all going on a call after a report of a building on fire, and other times.

I hate the feeling – it’s just this sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. There was NO reason to feel it today – none. It was clear, I think, there was no danger. I could see them for most of the time. It reminds me of the time Elie went running off (Don’t you trust me?) except at least then I could explain that there might have been a reason to be upset.

I tried to explain it to Lauren…she was sympathetic and sweet – she didn’t say I was insane…which would have been Elie’s response. Oh well…I have to learn to just deal with these things and not get so upset (or else, people have to learn not to have medical emergencies near me). Truth is, maybe if that woman (apparently the mother) hadn’t been screaming so hysterically, I might have handled it better. On the other hand, I’m beginning to think that had it been me down there – I’d have been screaming just as much.

Who knows? Bottom line…I have to learn to just chill more, which was, now that I think about it, the purpose of the day!

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