October 17, 2023
Today’s headline on Times of Israel: Hundreds said killed in Gaza hospital blast; IDF blames failed Islamic Jihad rocket
Yesterday was rough. I sat at my dining room table all day, working, with a tight feeling in my chest. Sometime after lunch, a sharp pain attacked my right forehead, to which I immediately got up and took two tension headache pills (g-d bless you Excedrin).
I was snapping at my kids again and my husband offered to take them out to run errands and stop at a fantastic Netanya park (one of my favorites). I declined the offer to be left alone in silence, instead opting to join.
“Are you sure?” he asked.
I thought about it. Thought about my kids playing, hearing their laughter, sitting outside in the weather, and decided I’d much rather be in that mental space.
So we went. Piled into our Chevy Traverse (a.k.a. “Big White”), ran an errand, and headed to Einstein Park. The kids have been waiting for this day – a park with both Ima and Abba?! Unheard of.
At first, I sat on the side finishing my work, then sat quietly on the bench, breathing. The park was packed – dozens of families were out playing.
It was almost normal.
I was struggling with my emotions as it was – and then I heard a little voice.
To my right, a little girl was speaking. Suddenly, I understood what she was saying. She was probably around 5 years old, and proud as anything about her knowledge. “Ima,” she said, “this is what we do if we hear a siren.” She held her little arms up, put her hands behind her head, and educated her mother she should lie down on the ground, “like such.”
My chest hurt so tight it was hard to breathe.
Earlier in the day, I had decided to play “monster” with the girls. I was chasing them around, ‘threatening’ to eat them up because they were yummy, and my 5-year-old ran away. She held hands with my 3-year-old, sat on the floor in front of our living room couch, and wrapped her long, slim arms around her little sister’s body and head as protection. “She can’t hurt us when I hug you,” she said.
I stopped immediately. The game, for me, was over.
I shouldn’t be triggered when playing with my little girls.
I shouldn’t be triggered when taking my children to the park.
I shouldn’t be triggered when a friend doesn’t immediately respond to my messages.
And I shouldn’t lay in bed at night, struggling to fall asleep, thinking about safe rooms and therapy.