Monday, 12 April 2010

My Son Is A Teenage Soldier

My son is a teenage soldier.

I mean that.


My 19 year old son is a soldier and he has been for almost 9 months. In the seconds after he was born, the first thought that entered my head was darn, in 18 years he is going to be drafted.

I had been so sure that he was going to be a girl. Back when I was pregnant, (you know in the middle ages), there were no routine pregnancy scans. I had one at 6 months when I was so fat that they thought it was twins, but my baby was shy and the sonographer told me she couldn't tell the baby's sex. I took that to be a sign that it was going to be a girl.

If I am honest, I was a bit crushed when I gave birth and they told me it was a boy. All that was going through my head was that I knew we were moving to Israel and Israel still has mandatory draft. My baby was going to be a soldier in 18 years.

It ended up being a little closer to 19 years. Now my first born is a soldier.

So how does your mind adjust to the fact that your teen is now a gun toting soldier, out there protecting you and your country during the night while you sleep soundly?

Well for one, you don't sleep quite as soundly.

Living in Israel, kids grow up faster. Maybe it is the suicide bombings, the threat of war, or maybe just the fact that at the age of 18 or 19 you get a rifle thrust into your hands. It makes you grow up fast.

But they are still teens. Men Boys trying to find themselves and adjust to something so different than what they are used to. Trying to learn the ropes and find out where they fit in. They are stretched to their physical and emotional limits. They have their high points and they have their breakdowns.

And they still need their parents. They need their mothers to teach them that their gun cleaning brush is not their boot cleaning brush.
(Yes that was what my son used the first time he polished his combat boots. He didn't know what it was for. Good thing his mother was around.)

They need their mother to iron their uniforms and do their smelly laundry. They need to hear their parents' voices at least a few times a week.

They need their mother to help them keep from getting arrested because they left their beret at the base and only realized the next morning on the way back to the base that it wasn't on them. Yup-that also happened to my son. I had to walk over to one of the outside guards, explain the situation and point out that there was military police at the gate and that my son would be arrested for coming back without his beret. Thankfully mother's charm worked and the guy radioed the guard at the exit gate to let my son in. Mother to the rescue.

So although my son is 19 and a soldier, he is still a teen and still needs and loves his mother and father. Maybe he even appreciates us just a little but more now.

I know how much we appreciate and miss him.

Susie from


  1. Susie, that is just beautiful. My heart swells with pride for you and your son is just all kinds of gorgeous. Even with his inappropriately cleaned boots!

  2. Yes, they do still need their so young. I just can't imagine it but yes I bet he really appreciates and misses you.

  3. this is so moving. you are a good mother.

  4. Despite the worry I'm sure the job brings, it is wonderful to hear the pride and love for your son in your writing.

    MD xx

  5. oh i can't imagine the worry and pride this must bring you. We still have the draft here although thankfully no war. But still, the idea of my little boy running around with a gun in his hand in a few years time makes me feel quite cold.

  6. Tara, Nova, Angela, MD and Heather-thanks so much for your lovely comments.

  7. Oh gosh...I just cannot imagine how it must feel...such mixed feelings for you..and you must be so proud.

  8. My 14 year old keeps telling me he is going to sign up, and my nephew wants to be a pilot (cheapest way to train is to sign up). It makes my stomach heave.
    Good luck to you all and congrats on your gorgeous boy!

  9. There is a smidgeon of difference between boys that are drafted and boys who join volountarily. I scream inside for another child lost to the madness of war yet I know that it is a man thing and women are always left to weep. I do not know how I would cope but I would hope I should behave with all the love and dignity you show.