Thoughts on another Israeli Memorial Day

All around, kids pick up bits and ask their parents…

“What is בן האבוד בלבנון?”
“What is מבצע אנטבה?”
“What does רומנטי mean?”
“Why is that kind of flower everywhere?”
“Did that שיר really happen?”
“Why do they put the flag down?”

On a walk through Har Herzl (Israel’s national cemetery) this morning, hearing about many many dead sons, it occurred to me that it will never matter what age my kids are; I will always wonder where they are, and the comfort of knowing where they are at any one time could maybe help ease the hard parts of being a parent.

And then I thought,

a., it’s not realistic, and

b.,

they may be somewhere that is as painful as not knowing where they are.

Yom HaZicaron 5774: A little boy asking questions

This evening at the Yom HaZicaron memorial service, my son asked a lot of questions.

‘Who is that boy?’ ‘Who is he talking about?’ ‘His older brother died?’

He asked me to explain what every speaker was talking about. I did.

It made me strongly consider how I’ll look back fondly in thirteen years at this time, at this moment while he is sitting on my lap, his little boy face gazing toward the dark stage, his ears perked up, his eyelids eventually drooping closed, this little boy cuddled in my lap, our legs intertwined,

these moments when he was just a little boy asking questions.

The innocent on Memorial Day.

I told Koala he could come with me to the Yom HaZicaron ceremony if he likes. I told him it’s a time where we remember all the soldiers and all the good things they do for us.

“And if you want, during the siren, you can think about your uncle who is a chayal, or zayde who was a long time ago.”

“I want to think about them and all the chayalim.”

After the siren, I asked him if he had thought about the chayalim. He told me he  forgot, he was “thinking about other things.”

That’s ok. He’s four.

Here’s to innocence.

Yom HaZicaron in Tzur Hadassah