Some thoughts on a grey morning after a bad night

I just woke up (again), having been woken up at 6:30 by the cat, and now it is after noon. It was a bad night, a whole lot of booming going on. The big guns fired, the house shook. Sometimes I jumped and then had to wind down again to try and sleep. No rocket fired at us at least. We must be grateful for what we get.

I’ve taken the unprecedented step, for me, of cutting ties to people and places where I don’t feel like I can be myself. I’ve always prided myself on maintaining relationships with people who have different opinions, political leanings, religions and lifestyles from myself. I don’t only listen to or hang around with the people who agree with me. I like to try to see all sides of a story.

I’ve got to stop that now. We may all be equal in HaShem’s eyes, but I have to put myself, my family, my neighbours first. It is up to me to care about my people before I try to take care of others, just like it is up to me to take care of myself before I try to take care of my children, my family, my friends and neighbours. If I don’t make sure that I have enough to eat, drink, get enough sleep, have decent health (relative to the M.S., which has a mind of its own), then how can I feed kids, bathe critters, listen to others and give what help I can to their needs, their hurts? I can’t.

And so now I am finding that I have another level of learning that you simply can’t love and care for everyone equally, and certainly not more than one loves and cares for oneself and one’s own. While it might be okay in some circumstances to take the food out of one’s own mouth to give to the hungry, it is certainly not okay to take it out of one’s children’s mouths. Parents are supposed to take care of their kids. Any parent who did that would be considered a bad parent.

Well what about people who want to kill my kids? Isn’t it more important that I protect my children, first? It’s not that I don’t care. Not that I don’t worry about the other children suffering. But my kids come first. That is how it must be, how it is supposed to be, how we human beings are wired. I don’t go take care of other people’s kids and rely on ‘the state’ or ‘the community’ to look after mine. While I might entrust my kids to someone else (a babysitter, or daycare, or even government schools) it is still *my* responsibility to look out for them, and I cannot count on anyone else to do it for me – or, with as much motivation as I have.

Now there *are* bad parents. We all know that. There are parents who don’t look after their kids, and there are parents who abandon their kids to go do ‘good’ for strangers, for people on the other side of the world. And what does that make them. Does all the good done in some other country, or for some other group make them good parents? Does it make their kids feel better to know that their saintly parents are off saving somebody else? Oh, please.

I had bad parents. So it goes. If I learned nothing else, I learned that there is no replacement for bad parents. No teacher, aunt, babysitter, or foster home takes away the fact that one’s parents didn’t, couldn’t, and/or wouldn’t take proper care of you. In fact, didn’t love you enough. It is not fixable.

I’ve have spent my entire adult life trying to be a good parent, trying to take the lessons that I learned in childhood and turn them around. I think most people would agree I’ve done a pretty good job. Whatever my shortcomings as a mother (and trust me, we all have them) not one of my kids would ever doubt that I love them enough.

So, I’ve wandered off the path a bit here, but I believe it is important. One’s relationships with one’s closest relations are the most important. If they are broken, damaged, missing, that doesn’t make them unimportant. It affects people for all of their lives.

Now I am in an extreme situation. It isn’t one of taking care of somebody else’s kids to the detriment of my own, it is the situation of having to kill somebody else’s kids in order to protect my own.

We can argue if that is the actual facts of the situation or not – I don’t care about that right now. However, if that is the situation, then I, and my family, and my friends, and my country have one overriding obligation and that is to take care of our own.

Right?

We can feel great grief for the other side’s children and great sadness that we are in this position, but what we cannot do is give up the responsibility to care for our kids.

That is the lesson I wish someone would teach to President Obama. Assuming he is even capable of understanding such a simple thought. Anybody who wants us to worry more about what he thinks, or what other people think, than about the safety of *our* children deserves to be at the very least ignored.

Once we are safe, once we are secure, then we can worry about other people’s security and safety, we can help others to achieve what we have gotten for ourselves.

Why is this so hard?

And so the guns keep booming and every now and then there is a shock wave from a concussion (I assume a tunnel being collapsed, but that I can’t tell from here), and I think – not that I want it to be over (I do, I do) but that I want them to finish the job. Please HaShem, Bibi, let them finish the job, so my children can sleep safely at night.

My youngest son is still away, and I miss him. I have two children living at home with me now, and two living in Sderot. All of them deserve to be safe in their homes, or walking to the bus, or going for a run. All of them deserve to know that when push comes to shove, their people are on their side.

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4 thoughts on “Some thoughts on a grey morning after a bad night

  1. The news media is very ‘selective with the facts’ over here, so it’s difficult to unravel what is really happening over there, and what it’s really like, without reading first hand accounts like yours. Surely nobody can blame you for making your own children your first concern.

    • I have the same problem with the media – there is such a high noise to information ratio. I swear, if I couldn’t look over towards Gaza and see with my own eyes I’d have my own doubts about what’s going on.

  2. After reading your posts about what it’s like to live where you are during wartime, I had a lot to think about. Then, yesterday late afternoon, I read a news article about the tunnels and their threats to Israeli civilians. I think that it’s good that you want to protect your own children, and are doing so. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

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