Sunday, March 20, 2011

"After the Holiday, I will..."

Normally the major resolutions are made after the major set of holidays in the Fall, but I am using the opportunity of Purim to get a little closer to my goal of a more balanced and happy life.

After the holiday of Purim, I will start my moving search in earnest.  It would be nice to say that I could find a new place to live before Pessach, and only have to clean once, but I must be realistic.

After the holiday of Purim, I begin my marathon training program.

After the holiday of Purim, I will call my very excellent travel agent and figure out when/if Raphaela and I will be visiting the United States before the end of this year.  As a separate entity, I will arrange an actual closer-to-home vacation for myself, even if it means packing up for a long weekend, and sitting on the beach while Raphaela makes sand castles.

In truth, I am conflicted because the last three visits to the States have overall felt like an emotional train wreck.  Since her birth, Raphaela is the point of these family visits - I will not call them vacations - so she can get to know her cousins and extended family.  Except that when we are in Boston, we have been mostly ignored;  my mother can press my buttons on the phone and distract me from the quality of my life, I don't need to buy two plane tickets and suffer traveling with a small child in order to have that experience in person.

Some part of me knows how important a role a grandparent relationship can play in a person's life, I will forever thank the Universe for giving me that opportunity with my own grandmother, a woman who served the role of surrogate mother as well.  The other part of me knows that I have certain expectations that will never come to fruition, that I must accept the limitations of my family.   I would rather not expose myself or Raphaela to that hurt un-necessarily.

Almost 14 years ago, I moved to Israel and chose to raise my daughter here, Mea Culpa.  I would even take the "blame" of creating a geographical distance between us and many of my State-side relatives.   We are happy here in Israel, we do have friends and adopted family who love us, and I have built a life here.  Who is to say that blood must always take precedence over water?

1 comment:

Amy Charles said...

Doc, I would say here: Don't be afraid to go a little easy on yourself.

Your family apparently has some money. Let them pay for or at least split the cost of the tickets with you, and take that part of the burden off you.

If they don't know by now that life's financially uncertain for you, and for their granddaughter, or that it's fulfilling for you but gruelling, then there's nothing you can do. You weren't treated well last time; you weren't esteemed last time. Go only if *you* want to.

Raphaela is too young to remember much between annual trips; I wouldn't worry about this. My daughter's paternal grandmother is rather a cold fish and doesn't really like babies, and she was so distant that one time my daughter actually asked her grandpa who that lady was. That was when she was three. Today they have a close relationship.

I think there's a thing that happens with people who're happy marching along to with the Sousa tune of their life-ordering group: Any deviation means you've declared yourself not part of the group, and you fall off the radar. They can't hear you, don't understand why you'd do something different, & assume you've rejected the entire marching band and parade, and their ears are just too stuffed full of sousaphone for them to pay attention to much else.

If you were to say, "Can you help, and behave like grandparents, I'm poor and exhausted and my child needs you," they'd be confused and say, "I thought you wanted that life, otherwise why wouldn't you have stayed here and gotten married like everyone else."

Cults do a number on the imagination, is the problem. Seriously, do what's good for you. Raphaela will not suffer for not seeing your family this year. Save the money for when she's older and actively curious about them.