I am alone this weekend. Alone means without my kids.
They are at their dad’s house and I am separated from them. After two weeks of working hard and not having a break, I was looking forward to this weekend all by myself. But now with missiles falling all around us, I just want to be with them…and I can’t.
That’s divorce during war.
I know that as their main caregiver, they are used to me cuddling them and reassuring them when anything goes wrong. I am used to being welcomed when I come home and kissed and hugged when I walk though the door. I love that feeling of knowing that they are safe and asleep in their beds, walking around at nights checking on them just to reassure myself that everyone is safe and sound…but right now I can’t.
That’s me during war.
I know that when the sirens go off and we have one minute to make it into our shelters that my kids will be amazing and helpful and make sure that everyone is safe and together. My older kids are used to me relying on them for help with their younger siblings since I am the only adult around most of the time. I am only one adult, and I am alone. Life circumstances have forced them to be mature and responsible because they know that I need them to help pull their weight around the house to keep things functioning day to day.
That’s my kids during war.
When the kids come home after the weekend, depending on the situation, we may be in the house for days, all of us together, not knowing what will be. Of course, that’s assuming their dad will be able to bring them home at all. I will need to garner a huge amount of emotional energy to single-handedly offer the support and care that the kids need to make it through this trying time. I will not have a support system for myself because I am alone. I will continuously tell the kids that everything will be OK, just because they need to hear it, even if they know that I can’t possibly know that to be true…without anyone to do the same for me.
That’s being alone during war.
It’s my own personal daily battle.
Do I ask my ex to come and spend time in our shelter with us? Do I call him when we are in there to speak to the kids? When the kids are worried about him because he is not with us, what do I say? Will this situation arouse feelings of upset and anger directed at me because he is not there with us?
I have one child who is constantly scared of the situation in Israel and keeps asking me why we can’t move back to Canada. “Canada is a place without conflict, fear, their baseball players don’t suck, people can make a normal living and he wouldn’t need to serve in the army unless he chose to.” These are the things he tells me all the time. Like many others, he doesn’t like my answers but I tell him that even with war around us I feel safer here in Israel than anywhere else. I can raise them in an environment where they can be free and happy as kids. Where they can go to youth groups and have great friends and where they can play outdoors instead of being stuck inside and carpooled wherever they need to go.
Try explaining all of that bigger picture stuff to scared kids. Try telling them that Israel is a place where Jews can feel at home and safe when right now he feels anything but. I try to explain to him that his feelings of trepidation and vulnerability (expressed with mom words like scaredy and not knowin’ what’s goin’ down) will pass because tomorrow will come sooner than you know it.
I may be alone, but I don’t feel alone. I have my kids beside me. I wonder if they know how much support their sweet beings offer to ME during this time.
I am fighting my own personal battle.
I’ll leave it to Israel to fight the war.