The past two weeks in Israel have brought a wave of terror and violence, with near-daily attacks that some are calling the beginning of the third intifada. Sarah Tuttle-Singer, a mother raising her two kids in Israel, shares with us what it’s like to parent during these tumultuous times.
“Hurry up,” I say too often when the kids struggle to put on clean shirts, or tie their shoes already.
“Nu, yalla—we’re late. Halas, leave the book already, put your jacket on, hurry hurry.”
It’s been this way since they were babies, always rushing, waiting for the next phase—when will it get easier, when will they get BIGGER, when will they walk THEMSELVES places so I don’t have to?
But then I keep thinking about that 13-year-old boy who went out on his bike yesterday afternoon in Jerusalem, when he was attacked by a terrorist and nearly killed. Thirteen years old, just a few fast years older than my daughter, big enough to put on a helmet and ride down the street and not think twice that he might not come home.
And I think about all the mothers and fathers out there whose kids breeze out the door each day, maybe blowing a kiss over their shoulder, but probably not. “Yalla, bye see you later.” Like it’s a given. And usually it is a given. Until it’s taken away.
And then, I think about my dad in America who can’t know where I am most of the time—who tells me on the phone, “Think once is it safe, think twice is it safe, and think a third time is it safe.” And once, twice, three times, I do whatever the hell I want. But I’m still his baby, too.
For tonight, I know where my kids are. They’re sleeping. They’re in the room next to me, curled in bed, breathing softly, eyes closed. Dreaming, maybe. And please God, leave them still untouched by the storm of terror outside.
For now. I’ll slow it down, I promise. I’ll turn their t-shirts inside out so it takes longer each morning for them to get dressed. I’ll hide their shoes so they can’t find them. And when they do, we’ll walk more slowly down the road, for as long as we can, together.