Hillary was right about the Village.
I’ve seen repeated proof of her theory for years. And yet each time it plays out in my personal life, I’m humbled and amazed anew. Like 11 days ago when the “Gaza Story“ broke.
I’m a journalist and when the jets began breaking the sound barrier two Saturdays ago at midday, an SMS message came across my cellphone: Are you available for work?
The messenger was the bureau chief of one of the biggies in the broadcast news arena; his query presented an opportunity to dip back into my roots after a lengthy hiatus.
I started out in the t.v. news industry when I was in college and through the years worked my way up from intern to gofer to desk assistant to assignment editor to producer to field producer to correspondent. I careened off toward print a few years back because I was keen to flex my writing muscle and I needed a break from the long and demanding hours video work necessitates. Also, the industry-wide affectation for histrionics and the all-hours-of the day-are-game-for-work lifestyle were wearing thin.
NOT TO MENTION the wear and tear hard news takes on a soul (& body). Watching the images, being at the sites, hearing the stories. . . Eventually it pervades.
And yet the invitation was like a fuel injection.
“When do you need me?” I SMS’d back without pause or consideration for how I would cope with the long hours or long commute, disregarding schedule adjustment and most critical: not giving an iota of serious contemplation to how I might manage to work crazy hours AND care for my 1st grader son.
I was single the last time I lived the grueling hard news industry life. I’m now a single mom with gramps, grams and all potential caretaking siblings living thousands of miles and at least one ocean away.
And there I was jumping into the fray.
Which is when the village stepped in. The village being after school care, babysitters, friends and colleagues who have fetched my son from winter break camp, brought him home, taken him to art class and the park, picked him up at school and brought him to their homes.. . and my neighbor, bless her completely unselfish soul, who has taken the dog for walks, picked up my son at school and hosted him overnight when I sat in the office until 1 a.m watching horrid images of other children no longer sleeping soundly in their beds.
The village is incredible. And awesome.
And I’ve been living in it for years. From my village in San Francisco where neighbors and friends stepped in with babysitting offers when jobs beckoned to the village in Tel Aviv comprised of numerous colleagues, friends and neighbors who, throughout the years, seem to conspire to help me succeed.
Thank you, my village. I would be nowhere without you. And I’m happy to report that although exhausted, I’m enjoying being back “out there” again. And I’m also finding quality time to spend with my son albeit not much of it at the moment. But this story won’t continue forever.
And speaking of, I’m not writing about the crap situation in Gaza. Because I’m too exhausted and I’ve seen too much of this kind of thing for too many years. Or perhaps, as author Barbara Ehrenreich terms it in Nickel and Dimed, I’m being held back by a kind of moral paralysis masking as journalistic objectivity.
However, I DID reflect while driving back from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv tonight – in the same way I have reflected so many times before on that drive down the hill at the end of a long day…. And I decided that this Gaza mess is mean. And tough. And the stakes are high. And all sides know it. And they’re going for bust. And if they don’t hit bust or pay dirt now, they eventually will.