I can’t remember growing older

When you’re a parent, each day is a struggle not to live in the future.

What if?

What will be?

What will she look like?

How will he make it through?

And some days are harder than others.

The days when fear grips you.

When headlines make you want to keep your child locked inside a bubble-wrapped, sterilized room forever.

You want to be locked inside, too.

This morning, my 10-year-old son and his friends are enjoying a weekend morning.

They’re playing Playmobil and singing as they manipulate their imaginary worlds.

They’re chilling out, numbing their minds in front of the Wii.

As I hear their squeaky pre-pubescent voices belt out a mix of Shabbat songs and Rhianna, I laugh.

For a moment, I’m in the present.

They are cute.

But a moment later, I’m in the future.

They are tough. Or pretending to be.

These boys?

These four boys?

They’ll be soldiers some day?

boys playing

I don’t believe it.

I can’t picture it.

I wish it away.

How many other mothers in Israel have wished it away?

Countless. As many as there are mothers.

How many other mothers saw 10 turn into 18 in an instant?

How many other mothers can touch 10? Taste 10? Smell their 10 year old boy’s sweating, dirty self walking in the door at 6 o’clock?

They scream!

Someone has fallen into an imaginary Lego hole. Someone has knocked down a Playmobil brigade.

Oh please.

Please let those screams,

please please please,

always be screams of play.

Always be screams of who gets the first turn

Not screams of agony.

Let this moment last.

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