Thursday, August 7, 2014

Our Summer of Love & War

As many of you know, Alex and I spent the majority of our summer with no kids at home.  This hasn’t happened since 1996 before Avi was born.  That’s 18 years in case you’re counting.  Because, certainly, I’m not.
I’ll be honest, it’s been a rough year for my marriage.  I’m not going to share the gory details with everyone (I know, you’re shocked) but I am happy to say that we are, as a couple, in a stronger place than we have been in years.  The stress of having young children, earning a living and everyday life can certainly erode a relationship in small ways that are important.  So after months of hard work on “us”, we were looking forward to being able to concentrate on each other without distractions (not counting the dog).  In terms of this, the summer was great, we went away for a long weekend, watched movies, read books, laughed and basically remembered what it is like to be newlyweds and newly in love. 
The kids were never far from our minds, we miss(ed) them and still had to deal with things from 1000s of miles away.  Their summer has been successful, full of the usual milestones - independence, self confidence, new friends, etc.  Avi learned the value of hard work and how to play a hand of blackjack.  Penina continued to shine in her play and to spend a summer carefree and happy.  Yael, even with a rough start, went farther than we thought she could and I’m so proud of how she turned it all around.
The other part of our summer, was the titular “war”.  Unless you were living on a deserted island, you couldn’t help but notice that there was a mini war between Israel and Hamas.  It was officially called an “operation” but with all the life lost on both sides, it certainly felt like a war.  As I type this, we are in a fragile 3 day ceasefire which everyone hopes will hold and if the journalists are any indication, since they are leaving, it must be over. 
This was a situation I have never been in before.  Where I live in Israel we didn’t really have any rockets, our daily life didn’t change and we went about our business regularly. What was different was the dread.  The dread of waking up to see the casualty count, the young faces of dead soldiers, the hardship in Gaza, the  constant posts on Facebook and Twitter which in the end, drove me crazy.  I had to learn to turn off my phone at night, shut off the news, shut of the justifications: left right and center and use the quite space to think about what I thought about it all.  Everywhere I went, we talked about it.  Who was right, who was wrong, what the government did or didn’t do, thank God Avi isn’t in the army now, and on and on.  At the same time that I was happy my kids were in the US and not having to experience all of this with us, I wanted them here with me to be able to see them with my own eyes and hold them with my own arms.  Of course, my parents worried and asked maybe they should stay longer in the US. 
The answer was unequivocally “no”.  I didn’t have to speak to Alex about it or talk it over.  I understand the difficulties of life here and know why we are here and why we brought our family here.  It wasn’t just to eat falafel and hummus everyday. We are part and parcel of the State of Israel and we believe strongly in its future and helping to shape that future. 

I don’t believe in Hasbara – in explaining to the world why Israel has a right to exist.  I started writing and stopped writing several times during the summer about what was going on here.  At a certain point, I stopped sharing things on Facebook and Twitter.  It was quite honestly, too much.  Too painful and too frustrating.

Reality has a way of creeping in.  Since I stopped writing this yesterday afternoon, I fought with Alex and the ceasefire ended at 8 am with a renewal of rocket fire from Gaza.  This morning, Alex and I found a way to talk about our argument and so the summer of love continues.  Unfortunately, so does the war.

1 comment:

  1. so glad to hear that you guys got some well-deserved "us" time, and were able to enjoy (mostly) despite the surroundings....