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Please pass the pie

I mean, what is the point in dieting when on the brink of war with Iran?

Do you feel that undercurrent in the air? The tension in the city? It’s just building with all of this talk about bombing Iran. Today, Adam Zussman, the head of the Tel Aviv district of the Home Front Command, said in a statement that a missile attack could lead to “hundreds of casualties.”

To that I say, please pass the pie.

I mean, what is the point in dieting when on the brink of war with Iran? While I’m at it, why should I bother saving for a “rainy day?” Will we even survive to see rain again in Israel? If war is imminent, then I’ve got a heck of a lot of living to do.

My Sabra husband remembers the Gulf War. He remembers his parents dragging all of their mattresses into the sealed room, hunkering down around the TV and going through canisters of Pringles and other junk food. We decided it’s time to stock up our mamad, and besides water and canned goods, we’re getting a lot of Pringles. Waistlines be damned!

Street cleaners in Jerusalem carry boxes with gas masks during the Gulf War in 1991 (photo credit: Flash90)
Street cleaners in Jerusalem carry boxes with gas masks during the Gulf War in 1991 (photo credit: Flash90)

All this talk is killing my motivation. Why should I go to work for my clients if we’re about to go to war? I could spend that precious time taking photos of my daughter in her Cinderella costume as she fumbles with a curtsy, or videoing my baby daughter who is finally taking her first steps. I could spend that time holding my husband’s hand on a bench by the Yemin Moshe windmill.

That’s where we had our first kiss, six years ago.

I honestly haven’t felt this way since 9/11. After watching the Twin Towers fall from the corner of 49th and 5th Avenue in Manhattan, I walked with my friend to a sporting goods store on the corner of 6th Avenue and 59th Street. I needed a pair of sneakers, since I was wearing high heels and couldn’t make the trek down to my Lower East Side apartment in heels. I was shocked when the clerk asked me to pay for the shoes. I didn’t understand it; the world was coming to an end. Surely, I didn’t have to pay for footwear!

I made it to my apartment, but spent the entire week in my bedroom. Everything was closed below 14th Street, so getting to and from the office was nearly impossible. It didn’t really matter to me; I wasn’t in a working mood. My boss, however, wasn’t on the same page. He called me, every morning, asking if I was going to come into work. I laughed at him; I hadn’t showered or gotten out of my pajamas. I hadn’t eaten in days, but managed to go through all of my cigarettes. I hadn’t slept; I spent hours glued to my little television set, hoping for miracles, waiting for the war to begin. I told my boss that no one cared about my technology client’s latest product, that all the media was occupied with a much bigger story. He gave me until Monday to pull myself together. That was the moment I decided to stop living for my work, and start working just to live.

I don’t know how I did it, but I made it into the office on the following Monday. And, turns out, the world didn’t end after September 11th.

And here we are today, talking about starting a war that will be unlike anything we could ever imagine. And I wonder, will the mamad help us during a missile attack? I don’t really want to know the answer to that; I prefer to believe that it will.

I can’t keep those bad thoughts out of my head. I can’t stop thinking about all of the wonderful things we might never get to experience. Will I ever see Paris? Will we live to celebrate our silver anniversary? Will we ever see Adele in concert? Will my daughters learn ballet? Will they ever see so much snow, that the only thing you can do is roll around, make snow angels, and have a giant snowball fight? Will they ever light Shabbat candles with their own daughters at their sides? Experience their own first kiss? Will I ever hold a grandchild in my arms?

Will we all perish together?

I let myself ruminate a bit on those bad thoughts. And then I push them aside and get out of bed. I get dressed and see my husband off to work and my daughter off to gan. I feed the baby and answer my work emails. I search online for cheap tickets to Switzerland next February and I take chicken out of the freezer to thaw for dinner. I jot down notes for a pitch letter that I will write as soon as I finish this blog post. I make myself a salad for dinner and skip the glass of wine. I throw another load of laundry into the washing machine and sweep the floors. I put together my Shabbat shopping list and plan a vegetarian side dish for our lunch guests. I move $50 into my rainy day fund and add another photo of my dream kitchen to Pinterest. I send my parents pictures of the girls in their cute summer outfits and RSVP for a July wedding.

I keep moving forward, living my life as usual. I pause to make sure to appreciate the good, fight the urge to dwell on the bad, and drink in every precious moment I spend with my family. I continue that daily juggle of keeping my career on track while being the best wife and mommy I can be.

But the pie? I help myself to a healthy slice. The diet can resume, in earnest, tomorrow.

About the Author
Shira Zwebner is a public relations consultant and writer living in Jerusalem. A Mommy blogger and recent Olah, Shira writes about living and raising a family as an American trying to find her niche within Israeli culture.