It was the time of Operation Protective Edge and I live in Ashdod. You know what that means. Not one moment is normal. A robe is hanging nearby as I bathe my son. No more fun with bubbles. Just in and out, racing to get him dressed before the next siren goes off. A bedtime story? Absurd. I would have to stop in the middle of a syllable several times. Instructions in a recipe to stir every five minutes seem like a joke except the situation is not humorous at all.
We were safe, B’H. Not a scratch. But emotionally, I couldn’t handle it anymore so I decided to visit family in Jerusalem just for a break. I traveled with my son by bus and that, believe it or not, is where he got quite a bit more than a scratch. The bus stopped short. He bumped his head and received a deep cut. So here I am, instead of relaxing at my relatives’ home, still as tense as can be sitting for hours in the Emergency Room. I don’t feel any older than my son. What I’d like to do is have a good cry, just like him. I’m trying to be the adult and hold things together but it’s so hard. The final straw came when he asked for food. Of course, he is hungry. He’d been away from home for hours.
People are so nice. I was sitting next to another mother whose thirteen year old daughter had tried to be helpful in slicing vegetables using a new, very sharp knife. She had wanted to save her mother some time but, to her chagrin, ended up costing her mother the whole morning as they waited in the Emergency Room to take care of a cut that was made by means of the knife slicing more than the vegetables. Even though she was probably worried about her daughter, she listened to my story. When my son began to cry that he is hungry, she knew just what to do. “There’s probably one here. They usually have extra just for cases like this. They’re angels, those people. Always looking to help out. I’ll be right back.” I didn’t know what she was talking about but in moments I found out.
I recognized the Ezer Mizion uniform as a smiling volunteer ran over to us with two hot, delicious meals. “That will tide you over for awhile,” she said. “ But in case you’re still here later, here are a couple of sandwiches.” I looked at her in awe. The food meant so much more than nutrition, which we were both sorely in need of. It gave me a feeling of being taken care of. “I hope your son is stitched up soon and able to go home but if you should need anything else- anything- please don’t hesitate to ask.” She was like a warm shower, washing away the cares of the past few weeks. “Let’s play a game while we eat,” I said to my son as she disappeared around the corner. I felt in control again. I could handle things. My neighbor smiled at me. “See, I told you they were angels.”