October 7 Made Me a Driver

Lahav Harkov –

I got my driver’s license at age 35. I put it off and delayed and deferred it until finally I couldn’t anymore: The only way I could afford to own a home was to live in new construction, in a new neighborhood, with very little public transportation and no shops or schools within walking distance yet. I passed my practical exam in June and we moved to the new house in late August. I drove my three kids to daycare, preschool and elementary school occasionally, but my husband – who got his license at a normal age – would take them or pick them up just as often.

And then the day came that the IDF whisked him away from us, in the middle of that Saturday when he thought he’d better turn on his phone just in case, and just in case happened.

From that day on, my mornings involved buckling and unbuckling car seats, connecting my phone and picking a Disney playlist on Spotify, and then shuttling the kids, aged 6, 4 and 10 months when this started, to school. Then at 4 p.m. I did it all again, in reverse. I became an expert in parallel parking on the crowded roads near the schools.

Sometimes there were playdates to drive to. Sometimes I had to load all 3 kids into the car for one’s after-school activity. Sometimes there was a doctor’s appointment. Sometimes the baby was crying. Sometimes all three kids were yelling at the same time, drowning out the “Frozen” soundtrack. Sometimes I was so tired, I didn’t know how I would do it – but I did it, because no one else could.

October 7 made me a driver.

Four months later, my husband came home, but I’m hesitant to relinquish the keys. My husband was resting in the passenger’s seat and I was driving the whole family home from my in-law’s house one evening, looking at directions on my phone when a headline popped up that Iran had launched missiles at Israel. What really made me panic was the news that school was canceled the next day. But I stayed quiet, letting my passengers sleep, and drove us home safely. 

Lahav Harkov wrote ‘October 7th Made Me a Driver’ in our May 17th Humor workshop.

Art by Moshe Zaidler – www.moshezaidler.com