Parents will do anything to protect their children but sometimes it’s the little things that you can’t protect them from and though they may be life lessons, they are so hard to learn.
Yesterday was voting day for local government in Israel. We chose a mayor and the members of the city council and so as usual I wanted to take no. 1 son to the polling station yesterday evening so he could see the democratic process in action (and he likes posting the votes in ballot box). It was getting late so decked out in full pj regalia and ready for bed (the kids not hubby and I) we all went, en famille, across the road to cast our votes, twins in the double stroller and no. 1 son on his scooter.
As an aside I should say that voting in a foreign language is no mean feat. In Israel you don’t mark the box on the ballot paper and post it like in the UK, you choose the slip of paper with your candidate’s party already marked and post that. Sounds simple right? Wrong. The party is not written on the slip of paper, instead there is a letter or a couple of letters and unless you are familiar with the letters of your party (it’s not the equivalent of D for democratic or L for Labour, more randomly S for Labour or G for Democratic – I am sure there is a reason for it but I haven’t found it out yet), its hard to know who you are voting for. I am an old hat at this now so am ready prepared before entering the booth, but the first time I was well and truly thrown and took the longest time to vote in the history of democracy as I laboriously read all the small print to figure out which party was which. But that’s by the by.
Fast forward to this morning when no. 1 son was looking for his scooter to go to nursery on. Ooops. Scooter was left outside the community centre polling station. After dropping off the little ones at nursery this morning we hurried over to see if the scooter was still there. Of course it wasn’t. We checked with the manager, the cleaners, the caretaker, no scooter. The more we searched the more silent no. 1 son became, not like him at all.
By the way in Israel we refer to scooters as corkinets. I am still researching why this is and where the word comes from – it’s also used to refer to the electric scooters – if anyone can enlighten me….
As we walked away with my plans to put up a sign in the neighbourhood and worse case scenario (for me) get him a new one, the questions began. ‘So where is it now’, umm, ‘why would someone take it?’ umm, ‘Saba and Safta (grandparents) bought it so how can we get another one, you don’t know where to buy one’. And then the fat slow tears. The worst kind of tears for a parent because your eyes fill too. No screaming and carrying on, no demanding and stamping just silent wet tears because at 5 you just don’t understand that someone would take something of yours, that something that you love has just gone and that you won’t see it again.
It’s a fact of life that things go missing, that people take stuff that doesn’t belong to them and hard though it is for him, it is, after all, only a scooter but it broke his heart all the same and a little chunk of mine too. I wanted to make it alright for him. I wanted him to understand that it’s not so bad, there are things we can do to make it right but the fact remained that he left it and now its gone. I empathise, I am incredibly over sensitive and was known in childhood to give emotions and personalities to inanimate objects. When we lost a camera in a theme park when I was 10 I couldn’t sleep I was so upset – ‘all those photos that we will never see’, ‘poor camera, is it alone somewhere in a dark empty theme park?’. Yes really… I know.
When he comes home today he may well have forgotten about it (until he wants to ride it) but I am bracing myself for the next level of questioning ‘ did a thief take it?’, ‘will the police catch them?’, ‘will they go to prison’. Yes, no, no, life sucks sometimes but it’s not the end of the world, possibly not what I should say. Poor kid, perhaps the newly elected Mayor can help.