People have been poo-pooing the national security drills taking place across Israel today. I understand why; often the bomb shelters are locked up, uninhabitable, or don’t exist at all in places where they should. However, it’s a government responsibility, should happen at least once a year, and as dysfunctional as miklatim may be now, it’s a start.
At 11am I heard the radio go dead and then the siren start up. I picked up my sleeping baby and started heading upstairs to our mamad. It’s a cozy place, our mamad; it also happens to function as our bedroom. After putting the baby in his crib, I shut the heavy door and pulled the heavy window closed. I stood in the pitch blackness and thought, shit.
Then I flicked on the light and picked up my (magically!) still-sleeping kid, sat on the bed and pretty much just held him close, staring into space. People live like this, I thought. In probably a decent portion of the world, throughout a decent portion of history, this is normal.
I couldn’t hear the siren anymore and realized five minutes had gone by. After I converted the shelter back to bedroom, I checked the contents of a box we keep in a closet for emergencies. Batteries, tissues, flashlight, bottled water. It now contains diapers.
As I picked up my son, peacefully dozing in a tiny ball that is his five-week-old body, I offered him a silent apology for the crazy world we brought him into.
Note: And then he woke up from that perfect sleep I had him in. Thanks a lot, Israeli government.