I couldn’t tuck my kids into bed last night without crying. They had chocolate cake for Shabbat, a shower, toothbrushes and warm beds.
Where are our boys? Do they have blankets? Have they had dinner? Did they get any rest? Have they been allowed outside? Do they even know Shabbat has come in?
Are they together, and does this give them strength? Can they support each other, encourage each other, reassure each other? Or have they been separated, injured, tortured, or worse?
Our boys – all of our boys – they’re her son, your nephew, my neighbor. Israeli children belong to all of us. So much so, in fact, that this phenomena explains strangers demanding that mothers put socks on their babies in the mall. Or at the park. Because they’re cold. Because that baby belongs to everybody.
So do these boys.
This morning, we had pancakes. Tear-streaked pancakes while my children asked me why I’m sad. I have no answer for them; there is chronic suffering worldwide, and we still cook meals and entertain children and go to work…..yet this particular horror tears every inch of me to shreds.
Have our boys had anything to eat? I feel I should stuff my children to the brim, symbolically.
They were stolen from a place I frequent. It’s down the street from my supermarket. I never considered for a second that it was a dangerous place. It’s 20 minutes from my house. There’s a cherry orchard nearby. I hardly label it a war zone. Yet, here we are.
Few pictures have been released of the three teenagers who were on their way home from their dorms for the weekend. I saw one last night. A gingy in braces. Braces. Thoughts of orthodontist appointments flooded my mind. What shall his mother do, in the coming days, if he is not returned? Does she call and cancel his next appointment? When they ask if she’d like to reschedule….what is she to say? To feel?
If this were my son, I would offer the kidnappers anything their hearts desired to return my son. The release of every prisoner ever captured. The Golan. My left arm. A kidney. My life. The politicians are responsible for making unimaginable decisions — what are these boys’ lives worth when held against the precedent we consistently set? Take our sons and you receive thousands of your own, in trade. We make no such offer, and we lose Gilad, Eyal and Naftali. Since I cannot look their mothers in the eye and tell them it’s within my power to return them, yet I’m electing not to, to save future potential lives, does that make me a bad statesman, or a good mother? It’s a heart-wrenching, impossible choice and today I am grateful it’s not mine to make.
These boys are not soldiers. They have no training on what to do, how to cope, what to say and how to manage. They are high school students who have a big test on Monday. What thoughts must be occupying their minds? I’m grateful that they are observant boys. At least they have faith. I’d have nothing.