It was like a movie scene. Erev chag, I the momma was knee deep in my holiday cooking with kids under toe and the house smelling like heaven as I awaited  my son Sadok’s safe return from the army. Into the house he walks, my firstborn handsome son in his uniform khakis. I drop my cooking like a hot potato for the welcome opportunity to embrace my son.

When will I be adjusted to this new reality? My son is now a man along with countless other children turned quickly into men who protect, defend and serve our country. Was it not yesterday he was playing Lego for hours and singing “hot wheels leading the way”?.

As far as I can remember Sadok has never been one for physical or verbal affection. I have always known he loves me but can’t remember hearing him say the words. I also was limited in the affection I could give him without irritating him.As the time was nearing when he would be enlisted, I was concerned. Of course I was worried as all mothers do for his safety and well being, but also about him leaving without enough hugs and I love you’s. I wanted desperately to go back in time and find those lost opportunities to get more, to give more, but now my time was up.  Sadok, a grown man was off in the world with all that unexpressed love and affection which I felt he would need to give him that inner strength to endure it all.

We went to Givat HaTachmoshet to see him off on his enlistment day. As we said goodbye, hugged him and watched him walk off, I cried like a baby. Now as the phone calls come in during those few precious free moments he is given, I have started to receive the love. It now rolls off his tongue so easily “I love you momma”. As he comes and goes on his leave he not only let’s me hug and kiss him but I sense he enjoys it as well. My fear of opportunity lost was actually opportunity found. Sadok’s army experience is giving him perspective and clarity.

I always new the army would toughen him up. I never expected it could soften him at the same time.  Yasher koach to the Israeli army, they made a Sabra out of my American born baby.