There was only so much pacing and checking the news that I could do. And then when I finally snapped at Koala, I knew it was time.
I had been 100% sure there was no need to tell him about the rockets or warn him about sirens before yesterday. But then the rockets reached Tel Aviv. And my nerves were frazzled, making my son cranky, and my gut feeling changed.
‘Hey. I want to tell you something.’
Kids are amazing. Koala snapped to attention.
‘You know how ambulances and police cars have the wee-oo wee-oo sirens?’
‘Well, sometimes… in some places… there’s a really big siren in the whole outside. And it’s so loud we all hear it. It means we should quickly run upstairs, to YOUR room, and close the big window and door. Then we’re together and play games.’
His face, so smooth and sweet, his eyes so blue and clear, I swear he was actively comforting me.
‘O-k!’ he responded, then made me put my phone down to stop checking the news, pay attention to him, and play ball while instructing me how to cheer for goals and laugh hysterically together.
Despite the slight feeling that I had been overreacting in telling him, (double despite the gut feeling that I wasn’t), a few hours later we were downstairs on the floor playing – us and friends staying with us, escaping Be’er Sheva – when the slow wail emerged from within the Tzur Hadassah hills.
After two seconds of digesting that word – here – we mobilized.
Koala was next to me, so I took his hand and said, ‘that’s that siren we were talking about.’ I stole a look at his face and saw he was smiling.
‘Let’s go! There’s a siren! Let’s go play games!’
He bounded toward the stairs, our hands together; everyone else was behind us so I picked him up the rest of the way. We filed in to the mamad (safe room) and the adults took our places on the floor as the kids dumped megablocks and opened storybooks.
Later, as we put the kids to bed, chanting our nightly ritual – ‘Good night Tzur Hadassah! Good night gan! Good night chayalim!’ – Koala added, a bit too cheerily for bedtime –
‘Good night, sirens!’