A year ago today Isaac sat down on a chair in the kitchen and Ken used an electric barber clipper to shave his head. It wasn't as easy a job as it looks on TV. The comb clogged, the batteries wore out and should have been replaced, the depth of the razor guard kept slipping.
During the first few passes the long hair was caught in the teeth of the guard and Isaac was clearly feeling the pinch. He sat quietly and patiently while Ken ran the clipper over his scalp again and again.
Soon the haircut turned into a freaky half mowed lawn. With a little more time Ken was able to fashion first a mullet and then a rattail - styles I am so happy to report, Isaac never sported as a teenager.
Ken stopped a few times since both he and Isaac were getting tired. I kept sweeping up the hair on the floor but after awhile I gave up and decided to wait until it was all done.
It was a strange experience for all of us.
An hour after we started it was over and Isaac had a brand new nearly-shave head (1/4 ") and a mitt full of shaved locks.
We cleaned up the kitchen. Isaac went downstairs and had a shower. We threw the towel and his clothes in the washer.
He came up before he went to bed with short clipped hairs still sticking to his back, despite the scrubbing. There didn't seem to be too much to say. We all went to bed early.
The next morning the three of us piled into the car with Isaac and his backpack full of clothes. We argued about the best route - as usual - and took a little more time than usual to reach תל השומר (Tel HaShomer). The letter said to be at the base at 7:30 or 7:45. I can't remember which. I was nervous that we would be late - another, as usual. But we got there on time and of course we had to wait. They weren't letting anyone in.
Slowly, parents and their children, sons and daughters were beginning to queue - if anything in Israel can be called a queue - waiting to be admitted to the Induction Center. Ken and I were there to watch our child be called up, to board a bus, to be incommunicado for 3 weeks and join the ranks of צה׳׳ל (IDF).
It is a year later. Isaac has been a good soldier. As a jobnik he worked on a base close to Tel Aviv. I think he ate a lot of cake and drank a lot of coffee while performing his tasks. He learned some new skills (I understand he is now a PowerPoint expert), made a lot of friends and knows many more acronyms the three of us put together.
This morning he put his uniform on. He put the rubber bands on his calves to hold his pants in place. A requirement - not the rubber bands - but the tucked in cuffs. He packed up his extra uniforms and his coat and put everything in the ruksak the army gave him. He is being released tomorrow.
Even though he can keep the boots I don't think he will be wearing them anytime soon. And I don't think he will miss the polyester uniform that is hot in the summer and provides no warmth in the winter.
I imagine Isaac will do what all service personnel due when they are discharged - sleep in, travel, not think about anything remotely related to the army.
He will return to ordinary life.
I understand there is a party for him next week - his parents are not invited.