When the kids were young, before the days of cell phones, instant messages and constant online activity, they would sometimes get home late. If, for some reason, I couldn't find them, I didn't worry. Here in Israel, everyone is a Jewish mother or father and I knew they might be at a neighbor’s house eating schnitzel and watching TV.
When my youngest, who is now a combat soldier, was in kindergarten, I had to work. Still do. Anyway, I arranged for him to be picked up one day a week and brought to a nearby kindergarten where he would be given lunch and then be free to pet bunnies and baby lambs. This was my one "late day" and this would happen one day a week.
One day, I arrived at this place to find that the woman in charge had forgotten to pick him up. I frantically went back to the kindergarten, which was locked! However, there was a note on the door with the telephone number and address of the assistant teacher. I would find him there.
Indeed I did! He had eaten, and then was calmly watching TV. while munching on pretzels.
I thanked her profusely and then she said, "He is like my own son! What did you expect?"
We have had similar experiences in reverse. We have loved and becomes attached to lone soldiers, (those here without family) and, for a time, even had one or two living with us. They became like sons. In fact, just the other day, we celebrated the wedding of one such "son." Upon meeting his parents, his father said, "Thank you for the love," and we told him it was our pleasure. He was like a son, to us.
The other day, my son, after having been out at the beach relaxing with his friends, left for the base. His clothes washed, his hair cut, and exhausted from a weekend of "relaxing," he got on the bus early in the morning. In the afternoon, we got a call.
"Is it possible I left my wallet at home?" It most certainly was not, as I had seen him put his wallet, along with the extra 200 NIS I had given him, into his pocket before I dropped him off at the bus stop.
Oy. Did he need money for the two weeks he would be away? What would happen with all of his identification and credit cards?
I needn't have worried.
A few hours later we received another call, this time from Egged Bus Company. Yaacov, the driver, had found my son’s wallet and we could pick it up the next day. Another driver called, and then another, all involved in the most convenient way for my husband to retrieve the wallet. Thanking them, they said, "What did you think? The soldiers are our sons."
The next day, we retrieved the wallet, with the 200 NIS and all the cards intact.
They are our sons, and we are their parents.