Our son, Ari, arrived home Wednesday night after six weeks of being a volunteer EMT working as part of an ambulance crew for the Magen David Adom, Israel’s version of the Red Cross. We have yet to hear his stories, but I will admit to joy at having him at home, where I can more easily live under the illusion that I can keep him safe. That gave me two days of breathing more easily, until I received an e-mail from our daughter, Rachelle, telling me that she plans on leaving tomorrow night on a volunteer mission where she will be part of a team providing trauma counseling in Northern Israel. At least Ari wasn’t where the rockets are landing.
I’m a mother and worry is part of the job description. My concerns are certainly nothing compared to those of my friend, Cindy, whose son has been a Marine in Iraq for what feels like a very long time. Yet, at the same time as part of me wishes that we were having a boating vacation this summer, where I get to have everyone under one (relatively) small roof and in sight most of the day, I am grateful for seeing our children grow into adults who feel a pull towards giving of themselves and standing with the beleagured Jewish nation. I know that like many other mothers, if given the choice, I’d have to opt for children who, if they can, step forward when needed rather than ones who can’t think of any greater cause for which to devote their time and energies than themselves.