The barrage of Hamas rocket fire has increased daily in Israel. Many friends, relatives, and colleagues were sent to Safe Rooms to wait out the rocket fire. Tales of anxiety and angst were heard on the news, on social networking sites, and via phone calls to loved ones.
But, nothing really prepared me for the sirens at roughly 9:30 and 9:55 PM last night. Sure, we talked about the possibility, described the protocol to the kids, but in all reality it was still so foreign to all of us. That all changed the minute we heard the siren. Carmi, Gila, Levi and Tiki were home. Pacey was out at the local Kids clubhouse for our local youth group on our yishuv (which we knew was equipped with a Safe Room). Gila said she was on her way home from Bnai Akiva, and heard a loud "boom,"and she looked at her friend and said "We better run home!" Two minutes later, we heard the siren. Levi and Tiki were taking their baths, and we scooped them up in their towels down to the Safe Room.
We share a safe room with our neighbors. Let's just say that the Safe Room is a storage room for them of tools, a freezer, and random odds and ends. It was not ready for us... but then again, why should it have been? We have not been sent to these rooms since 1991 in Hashmonaim. Our neighbors were in a sense in denial, as we were.
As we stood in that room, amidst the tools, the exposed nails in the walls, the neighbors, and their dog, it was clear that everything had changed. Life as we know it will never be the same. Our children will now have memories of war, of evil, of bombs, and of fear. It just does not seem fair. Why the hatred? Why inflict this pain for a people that does not really exist at all. For a cause that was created in the 1960's by Arafat in order to relinquish Jewish control over this land.
As we cuddled our children to sleep last night, their were so many unknowns. So many questions my children asked, such as: "Why now? Why do they hate us, Mommy? Will G-d always be with us?" And, we, as parents placated their fears by saying it will be OK, and that we are here, and G-d is always watching us, and helping us with His miracles.
None of us got much sleep last night, and we were awoken to yet another siren at 6:00 A.M. We waited to hear the siren end, the aftershock boom, and waited a bit more until we returned to our homes. Everyone went back to sleep, but Levi (my 9 year old), and I made pancakes together. Why not? We were up early, with time to spare. So, I made a large cup of coffee, and Levi mixed the batter. He had a breakfast for war champions...pancakes, powdered sugar, and lots of love!
Within an hour, everyone else woke up, and we continued with our normal day. The kids went to camp. Carmi started packing for her trip to the US, and Josh and Pacey went to the local synagogue to pray. Sure, we walked with trepidation...thinking if another alarm may happen. But, deep down, we knew that we have the drill down-pat now. Nothing can scare us.
The sunny day has turned a bit windy and cloudy today, and we continuously jump, thinking the sirens are wailing. In the background, we can hear the fighter jets flying towards their destinations. And, we are praying for their godspeed, and goodwill. We will not live in fear. We will be strong, and refuse for the Hamas rockets to agitate our souls. We are Israelis, and our skin is thick like that of a sabra fruit, which is prickly on the outside, and sweet and sticky on the inside. I just thought my innocent children had a bit more time until they had to face the cruelty of the terrorist dogma. I thought it would happen when they reached army age. But, it was not meant to be. Our sabras have ripened a bit early this season.