They are so frigging brave.
She never wants to go to school when she knows there will be a siren. Yom HaShoah…Yom Hazikaron…and the days when it’s a drill.
Why do we have to practice?
So we’ll know what to do…in case it’s real one day.
She cries and we tell her to be brave and she comes home and says she clung to her teacher and covered her ears and that next time she’s not going to school.
The first time…we grab her and her brother out of bed. We are on autopilot. We don’t even remember how we know what to do. We put them on the bed in the secure room and we shut the door and the window and we see that she’s sitting up and she’s sort of confused.
Did you know?
We look at each other…we choose truth because there is no lie to explain this…
No…we didn’t know.
So it’s real?
Yes…it’s real sweetie.
She lays down and pulls the cover up under her chin. We make the beds in the room and they sleep there. They sleep there every night now.
We go to a carnival. We have fun…we try to be normal…we smile and laugh and play…
We are on the way out when the sirens wail. We turn around and run into the building…down the stairs…on the floor…it’s ok..it’s ok…it’s ok…
Hey guys…you ok?
My voice is not mine…it is calm and cool but it is not mine.
She whimpers for a minute…then she smiles.
I am not.
It is night…they have already been tucked in. We run in and close the door…and the window.
He jumps up and starts dancing on the bed.
Get down…get down…we have to stay down.
Everyone is in our room.
It’s so normal.
It is so damn normal.
She asks what we should do if there’s a siren on our way back from our long walk…we walked for half an hour…played at a park for a bit…walked back…and only when she sees our building from the path does she voice her concern…
We’re outside…where should we hide if there’s a siren?
We tell her. The bushes…next to the wall…we have to lie down and cover our heads.
She nods and clutches my hand a little bit tighter. And we keep walking.
He is in the kiddie pool on the porch. I grab him and a towel at the same time and try to pretend it is ok. We close the door and the window and we sit with the man who was working on our air conditioner and had been about to leave. He babbles about the siren and the war and the soldiers. I smile and hold him close…my clothes absorbing the water I pulled him from…and when it is over and we call his father…he tells him it was scary and then builds an Iron Dome out of clics.
She wonders if a siren sounds in the middle of dinner…whether we should take our food.
He says he’ll be in the army when he’s a big boy and he’ll go in a tank. He makes tanks out of chairs and boxes and brooms…and he shoots the bad guys and tells his sister he’ll make sure not to die.
They hide their disappointment when I say we can’t go to the beach.
It’s ok…it’s because there are no bomb shelters near the water…right?
No…but there are missiles floating in the water.
And I don’t want to be on a bus…or a train…or out in the open…because I am afraid.
But they were born in this land…and so they have breathed in her air…they have dug her earth up with their hands…they have covered their toes with her white sand…they have splashed in the waves of her blue sea…they have felt her sun warm their bodies…the clouds cover her sky and bring them bountiful rain…they have eaten her fruits…and have grown roots firmly in her soil.
So, of course, they are brave.
They are so frigging brave.