Its 6 am.
You get out of bed. Your weary bones creak and show their age. You put on your robe and go to your kitchen to make your spouse of 50 years his morning coffee.
You roll over and rub your pregnant belly. You lie in your bed dreaming of the new human forming inside of you and longing for the day you will meet.
You wake up and remember that you can hit snooze on your alarm clock because your little daughter is at a sleepover just down the road and there is no need to get out of bed to wake her.
You walk into your sons’ room and gently wake your two grown teenage boys. You marvel at just how big they have gotten and that your babies are fast becoming men.
You breathe in the scent of your five year old who climbed into your bed a few hours ago. You hug him just a little tighter and go back to sleep.
You throw out your arms and you dance. You dance with your new fiancée who proposed last month.You see your cousin and your uncle dancing nearby. You flip back your head laughing and twirl in a circle of complete joy, love and light.
You look up from your tent and wink and smile at all those dancing around you. You don’t see any differences of race, orientation, nationality or color. You marvel that in a divided world, here at this festival, there is no division, just a rainbow of love gushing over the beautiful crowd, dancing as one.
It is your turn. The moment you have been waiting for. You enter the DJ booth and you get ready to give the massive crowd exactly what they came for, exactly what you have always wanted to do. It is finally your big moment and you are ready to shine.
You left your family snug in their beds to go to work. You are driving on the road hoping you won’t hit too much traffic. You feel guilty that you didn’t take out the garbage and your wife will be upset. But the meeting is on schedule and you were running late already so you go on your way.
Your night shift is almost over. You are only twenty years old and you are so tired. But you know this is your role. You were born into this role. You protect the border, you protect your land and you protect your people. You are brave and so strong; you rub a speck of dirt off your green uniform, rub your eyes and know that you will not allow any amount of exhaustion to distract you from your duty.
The sun rises.
You hear noise. Your husband adjusts his hearing aid. “Rockets” he says. You are used to this. You bring him his walker.
Voices. Does not sound like Hebrew. Confused, you stretch and get out of bed to look out the window.You have a doctors appointment today. Will it be a girl or a boy?
Banging. What is that sound? A mother’s worry floats thru you and an image of your daughter at her sleepover flashes through your head, but you are not sure why.
An odd smell. Is something burning? You try to wake up your teenage boys again. This time you shake them just a little bit harder.
Glass shattering. You lift your five year old boy out of the warm cocoon of your bed and into your families safe room.
The music is loud but still you hear the familiar sound of rockets. Your fiancée grabs your hand and you run to the bomb shelter. You will both be okay there. You have done this before.
Through the haze and the colorful crowd you see something in the distance. It looks like para gliders. You admire their graceful, colorful wings. But then a thought flits across your mind, why so many and why so early in the morning?
From your DJ booth you feel the energy and you see the crowd starting to move faster. You up the beat. You think it is your music. The crowd loves you. But then, they start to run.
An unfamiliar checkpoint in front of you. Now you definitely will be late for that meeting. But as you slow down you notice something looks different about these soldiers.
Images in the distance. Something your eyes have never seen and your brain cannot comprehend. They come closer. You radio your commander. You think of your mom, your dad and your little sister.
We said NEVER AGAIN.
But then dawn broke on October 7 2023.