by Reb Akiva @ Mystical Paths
In Israel, my teenage daughters frequently ride the (public) bus. To school, to shopping, to Jerusalem.
Certain times of day the bus is busy with young mothers headed to day care, or shopping, or the doctor, or wherever young mothers head. And from within the religious community, these mothers often have their hands full…baby on one arm, toddler on the other hand, maybe a young child in front.
As these mothers enter the busy bus, they are challenged to quickly and safely deal with their children and pay for the bus fare, while not causing a delay to everyone else in line trying to get on the bus. An impossible task…with a solution. If any available teenage girls are sitting near the door…
Plop the baby into their lap with a quick smile, freeing an arm to pay the bus driver, get other offspring settled, and then return and take their baby.
My daughters call this “being babied”, as in “I was on the bus this morning and got babied.”
In Israel, particularly in the Jewish religious communities, you can trust a stranger – since we’re all family, all members of the tribe, all brothers – to hold your baby for a few moments.
Years ago when we first lived in Israel my wife boarded a bus much in the same condition – toddler, baby, stroller, and as she struggled to coordinate and pay the bus driver someone grabbed the stroller and moved it out of the way, someone else grabbed the toddler… AND MY WIFE STARTED TO FREAK OUT, strangers were grabbing her children and stuff (and getting them into a seat, and her stuff settled). As they saw her freaking out, they explained they were just helping her out. It’s strange being where things are safe and strangers are not so distant.
In Israel, it’s nice to be a babied…and nice to be able to baby.