In Which I Become a Soldier’s Mother

No, not that soldier’s mother.

Don’t expect much blogging on the subject, but one of my sons is preparing for his mandatory three-year army service.

A commander from my son’s future division came to the house to answer our questions. The commander wasn’t sure what he was supposed to do, as pre-army home visits didn’t exist when he enlisted. The program, about a year old, is intended to increase motivation among combat soldiers. We found out where my son would be training, how often he would come home (two weekends out of three, at first) and the different units within the division. I asked what my son should bring with him and he said, “Clothes.”

Another boy from the neighborhood will be in the same unit. When I ran into his mother and mentioned it to her. Ani be-histeria, she said. I’m not. At least not yet. Like it would do me any good.


  1. hope he stays safe.
    he’ll be in our prayers

  2. what LoZ said.

  3. sylvia_rachel says

    What they said.

  4. Good luck to you. I can’t imagine.

  5. May you see him go and come back b’shalom.

  6. I’ll keep him in my prayers.

  7. As a very experienced mother of soldiers, my advice is to stock up on all the things you’ll have to launder, uniforms, gotkes, socks etc. For two years I had two in the army, and I had enough extra clothes so that they could repack their bags as soon as they got home, even when both returned the very same Friday.
    The worst thing (of the normal healthy difficulties) is not to have enough time to wash and dry all their clothes. It adds unnecesary stress to the visits.
    We had so much that this week when one son came over to pack for reserves, he found some cothes still in their packages. Tzanchanim get lots of gifts, towels, bags, clothes etc.

  8. Somehow, I can’t picture you ever b’hysteria, even in an emergency (which your family probably appreciates!)

    I hope you stay this calm throughout the three years. And I also hope he stays safe. Is he doing Hesder or is he going straight in?

  9. You really don’t seem to be the hysterical type, do you? Quite amusing that the commander came to visit and had no idea what to tell you. He was probably all of—what—22?

    Of course, always praying for safety for your son and all our soldiers.

  10. Good luck to all! I would suggest – bring change for the parking at Tel-Hashomer (one lot is free but it fills up early). Tissues for Mommy, and a camera (its like the first day of school.) Any medication that he uses and things that it would be hard to get a hold of if he gets a cold- acamol, throat lozenges, tissues. Anti ????? cream, and lots and lots of band aids plus wrap-around bandages (they get blisters from the boots. Toilet paper.Some kids need extra food, some don’t. Cellphone recharger. He will suddenly enjoy talking to his parents!
    I would love to hear about his adventures.

  11. Pre-induction home visits? Really? Wow.

    I don’t have an army age son, but I did have an army age lonely soldier boyfriend/fiance so I’ll toss in a few of my own:

    A cellphone with a camera, so he can send you photos showing that he really is fine and a bit of what he’s doing (within the appropriate limits of course) (I guess phone tokens are no longer necessary, I always sent Jay off with those LOL)

    Those hand warmer thingies with the iron filings inside that you put inside gloves – shmirah gets really cold at night

    And most importantly, the one that nearly tripped me up – when you’re invited to his end of basic training ceremony bring along a full picnic meal. No one told me this and as I was leaving to shlep on the bus from my dorm in Tel Aviv to somewhere up in the J’lem hills my roommates friend happened to ask what kind of food I was bringing. Turns out you’re expected to feed your soldier and any of his friends who don’t have family visiting. Twenty years later Jay and his friends still talk about those incredible sandwiches I brought (pitot, hummus, plain pastrama and pickles – all I could grab and carry (or afford) from the local makolet). I guess they tasted pretty good after a few months of army food.

    Most importantly, may his service pass quickly, smoothly, and safely.

  12. May he go and return l’shalom.

  13. good luck. I hope he is successful, has a good and fulfilling position, and comes home safely

  14. May everything go so smoothly that his worst complaint will be that he’s bored (that’s what my husband hated most, aside from the food). I’ll be in your shoes eventually- not looking forward to it.

  15. Welcome to the “club”. HUGS! I found washing clothes was not a probnlem, as my son comes home thursday PM, and leaves sunday about 9am.
    Hysteria, NO. Just like a fly that doesn’t leave you alone, there is that extra fear, even when you know that you are being unreasonable and overdoing it.In truth, we never can be sure of the safety of ANY of our children, but we live with that, too.

  16. You make me think of my son who is in the US Army. My wife worries so much.

    May G-d protect your son and all the solders of Zion and the United States of America. (both groups should be known as Solders of Freedom)

  17. Well… I have 17.5 years to go before I’m in your shoes, but thanks for the inspiring calm in your ‘voice.’

  18. Wow! I can’t believe he’s so grown up already! Wasn’t it only yesterday that we were at his barmitzvah? I wish him lots of hatzlacha, sheyelech beshalom veyachzor beshalom, and to you I wish you strong nerves and lots of your famous cool-headedness.

    Pre-induction visits? That’s a new one to me and my #2 son only finished the army this summer. As to what to take with, we have a list here somewhere in the house. If you want, I’ll get my husband and/or sons to find it and i can email it to you.

  19. Kayza Zajac says

    May he stay safe!

  20. When I opened my email yesterday morning and saw the first comments, I was so touched I cried. Thank you, all.
    You can continue to imagine that I am always cool-headed.
    Batya, apparently the army is softer these days and they come home on Thursdays. The pre-induction visits began about a year ago.
    Thank you all for the tips. I’ll be checking back here to make our packing list. Rickis Mom, you summed up the fear factor very well.

  21. Thinking of you anf your family.

  22. I am filled with pride every time I see an Israeli soldier. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.


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