Not scary in the way you think...

I'm pretty sure that I've mentioned that I am going to Israel this week.  If I haven't - now you know.  I am going for 10 days - for work.  This trip has been in the works for several months.  I've been planning it since before I knew about Myla, and before there was a war (or rather, "active operation") going on in Israel/Gaza.  Yes, I am still going.  No, I don't really have a choice.  And - to answer your question, I have mixed feelings about it....maybe for the first time ever. 

Don't get excited - I am not going to talk about politics.....much.  Suffice it to say that I believe that the Israelis have a right to defend themselves, that Palestinians deserve much better leadership than a terrorist group (Hamas) that doesn't value human life, and that the death toll is staggering and I believe that the death of ANY human being is a tragedy - especially a child.  It is a mess and so tragic and I can't see a way out of it from either side.  Rabbi Sharon Brous wrote an article recently that reflects my feelings pretty accurately.  I don't really want to get into a political argument about it though.  I just know it is on your mind, hearing that I am going to Israel.

I've spent significant time in Israel during some scary times - during both the first and second intifada, in the period when Rabin was killed and the Oslo agreement fell apart, and so many other periods of unrest and attacks.  It felt MUCH MUCH scarier to be living in Israel during times when suicide bombings were happening daily - on buses, in restaurants, on beaches, in pubs - especially considering these were the places I frequented.  In the back of my mind, there was always a nagging feeling that I shouldn't feel as safe as I did.  In 2004, I lost a friend in a suicide attack.  He was killed along with most of his family while sitting in a hummus joint in Haifa - the city I used to live in - where things like that don't generally happen.  If I didn't learn then - I certainly have learned since that you should never just assume that bad things happen to "other" people.  Bad things are random - they can happen to anyone. 

Frankly, I am not that scared about the bad things happening to me while I am away.  Today there are non-stop rocket attacks - but rockets have been falling on Israel's Southern region for years and I have continued to visit.  All of the bus stops are bomb shelters.  There are sirens warning of impending attacks.  There is time to try and get to a safe place.  This somehow feels less scary to me than those random suicide attacks.  I say all of this as a tourist.  I have no idea what living in that situation feels like and I can only imagine that having sirens going off all day long while you frantically gather up your children and bring them into a bomb shelter feels complete unbearable.  My point really is that while I am a little nervous about all of that - it isn't really what's making me feel uneasy about this trip.   Because I AM feeling uneasy.

When I was pregnant with Max, a board member of mine in LA was trying to convince me to staff a trip to Israel soon after his birth.  I actually considered it because I had NO idea how hard it would be to leave my child just to go to work each day.  I am always grateful that I decided not to go on that trip.  It would have been SO hard.  Max was only 3 months or so, I was still breastfeeding (which would have meant pumping on the bus) and I was so attached to him that I think I would have been dysfunctional anyway.  Since his death, I've thought many times about how much I would have regretted going on that trip and missing a week of his life.  And yet, here I am - leaving Myla, a 3 month old, for a whole 10 days.  We've only had her for a month and the bonding is in full swing.  I adore her and we fought SO hard to bring her home.  I just can't believe I am leaving her.  It feels irresponsible and scary.  Yes, she will be in the care of people (nanny and babysitter) that I trust - but so was Max when he died.  I'm not saying that I think she is going to die.  I am just saying - my buttons are being pushed - HARD.  Leaving Mo is hard enough (because it just is - I miss him when he sleeps - I love having him around all of the time), but this is different. 

Am I scared about traveling to Israel?  That is what people keep asking me.  I guess the honest answer is: a little.  But, SO MUCH MORE SCARY to me is letting go and being away from my family.  I can't wait to come home.


robyn said...

i am sorry that you will be away from your babies, i am sure that will be very hard and that they will miss you as much as you will miss them. i do hope that you have a great trip though and i wish you nothing but extremely safe travels. love you!!!

Jayden's Mommy said...

Wishing you a safe trip. And completely understand leaving the kids just to go to work is hard enough. Much more for you going overseas. I know Myla and Mo will be waiting for your return.