So this thursday I will see my family for the first time since my grandmother's funeral. In addition to my parents and one of my brothers (the other one is in israel for his post-high school year), we'll be joined by my counsin from Israel who barely speaks english and is super orthodox, my cousins from America with their 3 kids who are also super religious, my senile grandfather (husband to the deceased grandmother), and my cousin's wife's parents from georgia, who are up in the area because my cousin with 3 kids just had the third one last week and they are helping out. Who are also super religious. Oh and possibly my other grandparents, who every time they see me tell me I need to improve my life, because even though I almost have a phd from an ivy league university, am teaching my own course at said ivy league university, am financially independent and pretty happy in my life, all that means nothing because I'm not religious.
Can you imagine why I might be dreading this trip?
Every time I've seen my parents since I started dating B, I wonder if this is the last time I will see them. If this is the last time I will be in the home I grew up in. If this is the last time I will celebrate a holiday with them. I'm pretty sure I'll be seeing my parents later this year in December, at my brother's graduation. But this may in fact be the last Thanksgiving I spend at home. Next year me and B plan on moving in together, and my mom has straight out told me that the only thing I could do that would be worse than marrying a "goy" would be to live with one and not be married. Actually, she said the only thing worse than that would be being a lesbian. Also if I had a kid out of wedlock. There's lots of things that are the "worst thing I could ever do" apparently. I wonder what would happen if I moved in with a goyish lesbian and had her baby? :)
Ok, so the entire trip probably won't be horrible. With so many people around, it won't be too hard to escape notice, and I can probably spend the majority of my time hanging with my little brother, who is also not religious- although he still lives with my parents, so he's a lot less open about it. And I'm kinda looking forward to talking to my dad on the ride to and from the train station-> the train station is around half an hour away from my parents house, so we have about an hour (total) of talking time during the trip which is when we catch up. I really want to ask my Dad if he really beleives that god wrote the torah, and if he believes that god wants people to follow all the minutia of orthodoxy. I've never really asked him that before, and I'm curious as to what he believes- or what he will profess to believe.
Maybe it won't be horrible if I never go to my parents for Thanksgiving again after this year. In reality, I hate these trips back to my parents house. I'm going for as short a time as possible- taking the train there on Thursday morning, and coming back Friday morning. My cats (and B's cats which i'll be taking care of while he's away by his family) are a great excuse for that (my parents don't realize you can leave a cat alone for longer than a day or two, and that as long as you leave plenty of food around they will be fine)(actually they might know that, but that's my standard excuse for not staying long, and they standardly accept it).
In reality, I don't want to spend shabbas at their home, and I've succesfully avoided doing so since moving away for grad school. Apart from the religious thing, the longer I stay at home, the angrier I generally get..angry becuase my mom refuses to talk to me about anything real in my life since it doesn't fit into her notions of what a proper life should be, and angry at my dad for saying more and more obnoxious things the longer I talk to him, also revolving around religion. Also, everytime I go there I feel like I'm transported back into my immature teenager hateful state of mind. I think it's just the environment...staying in the room that I haven't lived in since I was a teenager, talking to people I haven't seen on a daily basis since I was a teenager, it fucks with my mind, and I really feel like I lose years of maturity when I'm staying there, which kind of sucks. I also get all emotional (like when I was a teenager)...somehow the things that don't affect me much when I'm not there seem super important when I am there.
I kinda got slammed in my halloween post about looking forward to christmas. But really, at this point, I'd rather spend all holiday's with B's parents...just becuase they are what my ideal of a family is. All hanging out and joking with each other, telling stories about days past, making fun of each other a little, but in a congenial manner, bullshitting. It's just nice! And maybe it was different becuase I was there, but according to B it was a pretty typical visit.
All my family occasions are covered with this cloud of tension becuase of religous differences. I can't remember a single family occasion since moving to grad school that was not covered with these tensions, and where the issue didn't come up.
Hmm, so maybe instead of questioning why my dad believes in what is clearly (to me) bullshit, I'll make an appeal that despite our differences, we should all try and get along, and that I'm tired of all this fighting and tension because I'm dating someone not jewish, and becuase I'm not religious, and that maybe we can agree to disagree on that and move on with our lives and have a meaningful family relationship. Because, despite all the hurtful things my parents have put me through, the thing I want most in the world is to be able to get along with them. Well, not most in the world, obviously not more than my need to not follow orthodox law, and not more than wanting to date B. But that's really what I want in my relationship with my parents. A relationship that's not covered in tension becuase of religious difference. I'm not sure if it's possible, but I'm going to give it a try. Once again.