| War Diaries |

Dear Ima and Abba    

Just to let you know we’re okay. I mean, as okay as we can be right now
Dear Ima and Abba,

I’ve never been that great at calling you on a regular basis. Life is hectic, and the time difference makes it nearly impossible for us to catch each other at a mutually good hour.

So most weeks, when my Friday afternoon conversation with Ima starts off with a good dose of Jewish guilt (“How come you haven’t called me all week?”), I know I deserve it.

But in the past few weeks, I’ve found myself calling you so much more — maybe you’ve noticed? — just to let you know we’re okay. I mean, as okay as we can be right now.

When we speak, it’s not the time for me to vent about the loud boom we heard, the one that sent us into the hallway while my cupcakes were burning. It’s not the time for me to mention that my kids aren’t sleeping well at night, and neither am I. It’s not even the time to start praising my students for their amazing aid to displaced families, because you want to hear about happier things, like simchahs and nice weather and cute stories about the two-year-old.

Abba wants me to reassure him that things are getting better each day. “So there are no sirens anymore, right?”

I bite my tongue before I respond that just because there haven’t been sirens doesn’t mean there won’t be, and doesn’t mean we aren’t living on edge.

We live in Jerusalem, I remind you, it’s not (so) scary here. The kids are back in school, you remind me. So they’re doing okay.

If okay means I’m getting up each day and sending my kids off to school and going to work, then yeah, I guess I’m okay.

If okay means I’m not so scared, then yeah, I’m okay.

If okay means we are basically normal and living life as regularly as possible during these crazy times, then yeah, we’re okay.

I wish I could tell you I’m not okay. I’m not okay because we haven’t yet healed from the trauma — which is still ongoing. I’m not okay because as much as I want to stay away from the news, I’m glued to it, maybe to have some feeling of knowledge and control, but it weakens me nonetheless. I’m not okay because every setback is the straw that breaks the camel’s back, and every whine from my kids makes me feel like I’m going to burst into tears.

No one said war was easy. No one said we needed to be okay. But Ima and Abba, I love you so much. I know that it’s only because you love me that you want to know I’m doing well, and I’m safe, and I have no worries in the world to disturb the life you gave me.

So I want you to know, I’m okay that I’m not okay.

Your Daughter


(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 869)

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