Twenty-one years ago, at the age of twenty, I was pregnant with my first child.
At that point, I already knew that I would be moving to Israel within a few years. Emigrating to another country is daunting, but I wasn’t worried about the language or the cultural differences.
My biggest worry and the one that left me with quite a few sleepless nights and wanting to chicken out, was the fact that there is mandatory draft in Israel.
Since we are orthodox, girls can do national service instead of army service, but for boys there is no way out.
They do three years of army service. I was worried and concerned because army service in Israel definitely comes with the possibility of combat.
Needless to say, I spent quite a bit of time silently hoping my baby would be a girl. All that kept going on in my mind was why have a baby to send him off to war and the possibility of harm coming to him.
My pregnancy progressed. And my waistline progressed. I suppose that I decided I needed to eat for two, or three or probably closer to four. I remember, one time, on the bus home from nursing school, someone was eating potato chips. For a pregnant woman, seeing someone eating one of her favorite snacks does not bode well for her. Needless to say, I got off the bus at the next stop and bought 3 packages of different flavored potato chips, and then caught the next bus home.
There were other food related disasters as well. Heaven forbid that my poor husband would finish the last piece of cake without my knowledge, and I would go looking for it and find it gone. On the occasions before my husband learned that he needed to check with his
insane hormonal wife, he would find me in a heap on the floor sobbing away because the last piece of strawberry shortcake, or chocolate cake or chocolate donut was gone.
Needless to say, by my fifth month of pregnancy I was
wider than a semi-trucka bit overweight. On my routine visit to my doctor, between my weight, and the fact that he thought he might have heard two heartbeats, he sent me to have an ultrasound. Bear in mind, this was 21 years ago. You know, back before cellphones and internet were what they are today. Back before ultrasounds were readily available and having one done was definitely not routine.
I was thrilled. All my eating had accomplished something. I was going for an ultrasound, and I would find out whether I was having a girl or a future soldier. I was going to know for sure.
That was my first experience in how stubborn and unpredictable kids can be. During the ultrasound my baby was not cooperative. Or maybe the baby was just shy. (I am sticking with the stubborn though.) Either way, the technician could not tell me the sex of my baby. In my head, she can’t tell, meant that it must be a girl. And I bopped along after that, convinced my baby was a girl.
Stubbornness persisted, and week 40 came and went. Week 41 came and went, and finally in the beginning of week 42 my baby decided to make a dramatic entrance. 41 hours of labor, 3 hours of pushing, a vacuum delivery, and I won’t horrify you with the tale of the episiotomy.
The baby was finally out and the doctor said “Congratulations, it’s a boy.”
My response: “Are you sure? Please check again.”
I was crushed. I had a baby boy, and in 18 years he would be a soldier. Damn. It took me about ten minutes to get over the disappointment or should I say, the fear.
We moved to Israel when he was a year old. My blond haired, blue eyed baby who looked like he fit in better in Sweden than in Israel. He morphed from a baby, to toddler, to child, to young man.
Things he wanted to do that seemed inappropriate for his age brought up the argument of, but I will be holding a rifle in a year or two, this is nothing compared to that. What could I answer to that?
If he would be protecting me and my country pretty soon, was he really not responsible enough to do to the things he was asking to do? It was not easy adjusting to that mentality.
The time flew. The inevitable had finally come. My son, my boy child who had reached legal age but who was not yet a man, received his pre-draft summons.
After delaying his army service by a year to go to a pre-military academy, my baby became a soldier at 19.
I was a nervous wreck in the beginning. Worried and anxious.
I don’t know what exactly clicked in me. I am sure the fact that I started writing a blog a year and a half ago had something to do with it. I have often said that blogging is great free therapy. I think that it was the theme of my blog that made the difference. I was writing over and over again about how each day brings with it a new lesson and needing to find the positive in each of those lessons.
I let go. I have faith that things are going to work out fine. And besides, I have plenty of time to fret and worry if I should ever, Heaven forbid, need to. Worry accomplishes absolutely nothing.
I know my son’s life is his journey. I am along for the ride. And what a ride it is. In two days it will be his 21st birthday, and he is a year away from finishing his mandatory army service.
And when his ride in the army will be just about over, my second son will be taking his place. *sigh* At least my 3rd is a girl.
What things do you worry about in regard to your children?
This has been an original post to World Moms Blog by Susie Newday of Israel. You can find her positive thoughts on her blog, New Day, New Lesson. Also, this post is from a motherhood perspective, not a political perspective. If you are curious how Susie feels about the world, click here. She is inspiring!
Photo credits to the author.