Tiny Coconut

I have things.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

I Don't Have The Answer. Hell, I Don't Even Have *An* Answer.

In the midst of a phone call from Grandma and Pop-Pop's house the other night--where Em is clearly having the official Time of Her Life--she suddenly changed subjects on me.

"I'm worried about what's happening in Israel, Mommy."

"What are you worried about, sweets?"

"I don't know. I just don't want anything to happen to Israel. I don't want Israel to go away."

Emmy's attachment to Israel has been somewhat sudden, dating from her beginning religious school last fall, and our beginning to attend shabbat and other services from time to time. It's second in her nationalistic affections; when we watched the Winter Olympics this year, for instance, she rooted first for the US, then for any Israeli participants in the Games. When the Miss Universe pageant was on the other night, she made sure to tell me about how both Miss USA and Miss Israel did. She clearly considers this her second homeland, which is amazing to me, since my own feelings about Israel vis a vis my self are...well, I'd like to say they're complicated, but that would imply that I've thought about them enough to be able to describe that complexity, and that's not true. I've just always viewed Israel as somehow a degree or two of separation away from me: I'm a Jew, and there are Jews who care deeply about Israel and what it represents; therefore, I care about what happens there, but only on a fairly detached plane rather than an emotional or spiritual one.

With Em, that separation simply doesn't exist. She couldn't tell you why or how Israel is important to her (or at least I assume she couldn't, though with that kid you never do know), but it clearly is. So when she hears that Israel is in peril (as in our house, the TV news/newspapers/talk radio are omnipresent in my parents' house), she feels it in her soul. And she frets. And she looks to me for answers. Which I do not have.

At the age of 4, she was obviously too young to 'get' what happened on 9/11 (though, stranded with Baroy at JFK airport that very morning, she was sort of right smack in the middle of it); the Iraq war has been a fact of life for her since she was 6, before she was aware of that sort of activity around her. This is the first international event to make it onto her radar screen. In the face of such distressing news reports, her compassion makes me proud; her vulnerability makes me scared.

But none of that helped when it came time to respond to her comments.

"I know, babe. I'm worried too."

It was all I could think of to say.

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