Brenda Stein Dzaldov
Brenda Stein Dzaldov

My sons are home

I’m so lucky because when my sons finished their year at University, they came home.

Our oldest son, 20 years old, just finished his second year of interdisciplinary medical science studies. He is thinking about dental school. Our younger son, 18 years old, is an engineering and business student. They both just finished 3 gruelling weeks of exams, and now they’re finally done. I couldn’t be happier.

Yes, my house was cleaner before.

Yes, my house was quieter before.

And, yes, I’m aware how lucky I am that they came home.

During the 8 months they were studying at University, I had cleared the clutter, organized the kitchen and always had a cold water bottle or a piece of fruit in the fridge if I wanted it. This is not the case anymore.

In 2 short days, they re-took the house. They came with luggage, bags and boxes that contained clothes, footballs, water bottles, school supplies, cords, speakers, textbooks, food and lots and lots of shoes and hats. Everything was piled together.  When I helped them unpack, I smiled as I sorted it all out.

They came with requests for home-cooked food. I’m not the best cook, for sure, but my sons love my home-cooked food. Lucky me.

We still eat dinner together every evening, as we did when they were younger. We easily fall back into the same routines. We chat and share our thoughts on business, sports, politics, religion and morality. Some of it is heady stuff, but we’re used to it.

The structures and routines we set up with our kids when they were young still exist. We sit with them when they watch sports.  They run errands with and for us. They tell us stories. They help us clean up. They tussle. They are respectful of us, and we are respectful of them.

And they came back with their amazing friends. They all hang out in the basement that we remodelled 3 times throughout the years they grew up, depending on their stage. It went from a games room, to a hockey arena, to a huge room with couches and a big screen TV.  They talk sports, eat chips, drink iced tea and pop and play ping-pong and the PS4. I can tell how many friends are over according to the number of shoes in the front hall.  The more, the better.

So, why even write about this?

Well, today is Yom Hazikaron.

And, on this day, I am very aware that I never have to think that they won’t come home. I am aware that other moms’ sons are in the Israeli army, defending the country that means everything to us as Jews. I am painfully aware that some of those sons don’t come home, so that my sons can come home. On this day, I sit and reflect on this, and think about the sacrifice moms in Israel make for me.

It was quieter before.

It was neater before.

So now it’s loud and messy, and I couldn’t be happier.

My sons are home.

About the Author
Brenda holds a PhD from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education/University of Toronto, where she is an instructor specializing in literacy education, special education and well-being, and educational psychology. She is an educational consultant who has published many books and articles focusing on understanding and improving teacher and student achievement. You can visit her website at Her three children all grew up in Toronto and have taken different paths as they live Jewishly in the world.