Months ago, the youngest soldier in our family told me he was going to go abroad for the summer. He would work in a camp do some traveling and then come home before the New Year (Rosh Hashana). Regularly, we spoke on the phone but all I really wanted to ask was “when are you coming home?”
He told me of the things he was seeing, the places he was going. Often, I asked him what he was thinking, seeing. He often spoke in simple words, single ones, impressions that made me smile.
Yes, it’s very wet there. After all, we live on the edge of a desert in a country that typically doesn’t have a day of rain for 7-8 months a year.
Green? Well, naturally in a country that has a lot of rain, the land is going to be green and we do, after all, live on the edge of a desert in a country that measures days and weeks by the amount of rain that falls and how much the large sea (which is more like a lake) rises during those critical months.
Noisy and crowded. That was his impression of Manhattan and it made me smile for days.
For a young man who loves cars, he kept telling me about what he was seeing. In Israel, there are so many cars that make him pull out his phone to send a picture to his brother (Mustangs, Maseratis, etc.) He stopped counting Mustangs after a while once he realized how common they are. He marveled at the prices (given that we pay over 100% taxes on the price of a car, this was to be expected).
And he went to Niagara Falls, a place I have often dreamed of visiting. We have waterfalls in Israel. Some darn pretty ones, but the sheer power of what he saw there was something that touched him.
While he was in the States, he flew to the West Coast and saw more. Canyons, massive trees. Huge cities. Some places I have been, others only think of someday, somehow.
He send me some pictures, not enough. And I waited for him. All along, I knew he’d come home and I feared the call that would say he was changing his flight.
And when that call came, I was a little surprised and happy to learn that it was to come home earlier. It was enough and for that, I will forever be grateful. He liked his time in the States. He was overwhelmed by the country and ultimately, missed so much here.
People are politer in the States, but in many ways more honest here in Israel.
The land is greener there, wetter, bigger, but certainly not more beautiful. Different is the best explanation. And home will, forever, be home.
My youngest soldier came home and now sleeps again in his own bed, messes up the room we worked so hard to clean. Now he has major decisions to make, directions to choose, a life to plan. Ultimately, with him home, it’s easy to say that I’m glad he want.
After years in the army and away at school, he needed the space and he needed the distance. And now, he’s home. My heart is calmer, easier, at peace. So many fears of the summer have melted away and one reality remains. My youngest and last soldier has come home.