Let me begin by saying that when I told my parents we were moving to Israel 13 years ago -- and taking their grandchildren with us -- they smiled -- in that sickly green sort of way -- and then went to a quiet corner to fall apart. They were trying to be supportive but they weren't anywhere near the vicinity of happy. In all fairness, they eventually put on their best happy faces and got on board with our plans.
Approximately five months after we arrived in August 2002, my mother must have sent word to Saddam Hussein that she needed his help with her plan to get us home. Apparently he received her message because he publicly threatened to annihilate Israel in the lead-up to the 2003 Iraq War. I am sure that my mother thought that would scare us enough to send us packing back to Canada.
Long story short: it did not.
Unfortunately once Saddam had publicly announced his intentions, he was hell bent on proceeding with or without my mother. That's when my parents announced that if there was going to be a war in Israel and we weren't going to leave, then they were going to come here. "If my grandchildren are going to be in Israel for a war, then so are we."
If you think for one minute that those were soothing words to me, you are totally deluded. The last thing I needed in the midst of getting gas masks for our family, teaching a three-year-old to put that gas mask on, preparing our shelter and getting ourselves mentally ready for what might be Armageddon, was my parents.
Back to yesterday. In the midst of a brief exchange about people my mother has not seen on this visit, she mentioned how my cousin, whose married daughter lives here, jumped on a plane this summer when the war started; she came to help.
"Lots of grandmothers came," she told me.
I wasn't quite sure if she was peeved that we hadn't ask her to come (keep in mind that the lack of an official invitation didn't stop her the first time we faced a war here) or if she was just reporting the news. I'm still not sure. I simply chose to ignore the comment ... except that obviously it is still on my mind.
Granted this past summer's skirmish -- I don't think that it earned the official title of "war" for some reason -- was more intrusive than 2003. Although we all carried gas masks wherever we went for several months in 2003, we didn't hear one siren. The same cannot be said for this past summer.
And yes, my cousin was probably thinking more about her two-year-old granddaughter than anyone else (sorry guys). In fact, she might have actually been helpful in that capacity. Who knows; I wasn't with them.
There's also the possibility that she is cooler under pressure than my mother. Who knows, she might even have some useful first-aid skills.
Or .... my most assured suspicion ..... she might simply belong to the offshoot of Doctors Without Borders -- Jewish Grandmothers Without Borders. Here's their Charter:
Jewish Grandmothers Without Borders is a private, international Jewish association. The association is made up mainly of Jewish grandmothers and a few coerced grandfathers, as well as any Jewish professionals that the grandmothers deem worthy. All of its members agree to honour the following principles:
- JGWB provides assistance to grandchildren in distress, particularly to victims of natural or man-made disasters, and to victims of armed conflict. They do so irrespective of how displeased they are that their children made Aliyah.
- JGWB are neither neutral or impartial, and don't give a hoot what anyone says to the contrary when it comes to the well being of their grandchildren.
- Members only respect the Jewish grandparent code of ethics and maintain complete independence from all political, economic, or religious powers.
- As volunteers, members understand the risks and dangers of the missions they carry out and make no claim for themselves or their assigns for any form of compensation -- being there is compensation enough.
If you are a Jewish grandparent who wants to join JGWB, call my mother. No, she didn't start the group but heaven knows she is a charter member.