Sunday, April 4, 2010

Are We There Yet

Standing in a shul in Boston, saying the prayer for the welfare of Israel, holding my daughter, I started crying.

I am quite ready to call British Air and see if I can catch an earlier flight back to Israel than the originally planned departure date.

I had thought that my coming 6,000 miles with a six month old child, to spend time with her family, I thought that would mean something. Since I have arrived one week ago, my mother has not held Raphaela for more than two minutes, total. She has not once said "I love you" to her grand daughter, a child who radiates such positive energies that strangers approach her where ever we go. The cabin crew on British Air has spent more time baby sitting and showering Raphaela with affection than her own grandmother.

One of the reasons I made aliyah 13 years ago is because when I am around my family, they quite literally ignore me. I felt that I could not thrive or be happy in an environment that tried to convince me that I was not worth noticing. There was no place set for me at the lunch table yesterday, nor did I eat dinner. I never thought that their behaviour would change for me, but had higher hopes for my daughter; the reason I am so upset is not for me, but because my amazing beautiful and social daughter does not deserve this.

It must be hard to concentrate on anyone else when my sister is around, as the sun apparently shines out of her gluteus maximus.

Yesterday in shul an older woman with glasses came over to play with Raphaela, and she immediately started chattering away, to the point of grabbing this woman's arm when she started to walk away. My mother was mystified and somewhat jealous of this stranger, while observing this from three feet away. I understand it very well, Raphaela thought she was Savta Shira. Savta Shira who comes into my house and spends the first five to ten minutes hugging, kissing and cuddling my daughter, and telling her how much she loves her and her Mommy. Savta Shira who has no problem showing loving emotion to a baby who deserves nothing less, and who regularly encourages me and tells me that I am a fantastic mother.

Savta Shira was so happy for me when I told her that we would be at my parents for Pessach, she said, "That is so great, you will have people to watch Raphaela so you can rest, you will have a mother who will feed you and take care of you."

I am not holding my breath.


Miriam said...

I know the feeling. My parents live around the corner from us literally and very rarely spend time with our 18 month old son, Noam. I have learned to adopt grandparents and have found some very loving people--though not biologically related to share our wonderful child. I know we can't do raising our child all alone and I have also learned that I don't have to. There are so many loving people and I have learned to be grateful for the Savta Shiras in our life.
It doesn't mean you won't be deeply hurt by your parent's response or lack of response to your beautiful child...I know I haven't gotten over it completely.

Sarah said...



Doc said...

Yup, one of life's biggest lessons is that you can't change people, and the expectation will hurt more than anything else.

Abandoning Eden said...

oy, I know how much it sucks to have parents who aren't the parents you want them to be. Sadly you can't change people. My parents only live 2 hours away and even in the 5 years I've lived here before I married someone they don't approve of, they only came to visit twice- and once was cause they had a wedding in the area.

Sadly parents are human, and just cause they are related to us doesn't mean they are the good kinds of relatives. I think the only way to fix it is to be better parents to our own kids! :)

koshergourmetmart said...

so sorry to hear that you are being ignored and the baby too. it seems like they are self-centered

Amy Charles said...

No place set for you at the table? While places are set for others in the family? No kissies and lovies for RR? Leave a copy of what you wrote on each place and append: Strangers on the internet say "shame on you, you're so frum but you don't know how to love your own children."

Sarah said...

Yeah, it's the "no place at the table" part that got to me. Everything else I can be "dan l'kaf zchut" as a matter of personal perspective and interpretation, but not setting a place for you is really something. Did they have anything to say about what happened? Had you indicated that you might sleep in? Did they miscount the number of plates needed and you happened to be the last one to show up to the meal? ANYTHING?

That second meal you skipped -- was it because they forgot a place for you AGAIN, or because you had had enough?

This information can help clarify between "unfortunate miscommunication," "cluelessness," "fruedian slip" and "deliberate diss."