Monday, July 14, 2008

Lemonade out of lemons

Advantages to my parents not coming to the wedding:

1. Now we can have the wedding on a saturday! Which is really a lot more convinient to everyone except my parents (as like 90% of our guests will be coming from out of town). And I don't have to move the date for sefirah.

2. That's 2 less guests I have to buy food for!

3. I'll probably save a lot of money by not ever visting my parents again

4. No more awkward conversations on the phone with my mom, cause in her words "I have nothing to say, you know my feelings"

5 I get to go to Chicago for Thanksgiving to meet B's entire extended family (his parents have already offered to pay to fly me out), and not feel guilty about not going to my parent's on the one day a year I always have managed to make it out there

6. No more arguing with my dad about Jewish stuff!

7. No more worrying about whether or not my parents will come to my wedding!

And for those naysayers who are all "well your parents didn't disown you, you can still have a relationship with them!" Well, no. I can't. They can't have it both ways. I'm not going to go to their home without my fiance/husband, and I'm not going to call them up to say hi when they are refusing to come to my wedding. They've made their decision.

I still haven't written back to my dad. Eveything I can think of to write is incredibly snarky. My latest draft:

Dear Abba,

Well, you've made your decision and I've made mine. If you can't see it in yourself to make the "meaningless gesture" of attending your only daughter's wedding, then I can't continue to make "meaningless gestures" such as calling to say hi or coming to visit. You can't have it both ways.

I hope you have a good rest of your life, and that when you die you don't look back upon this day with regret. I also hope for your sake that there is a god, and that judaism is the right religion, and that god cares more about how you followed rituals than how you treated your daughter. Cause otherwise you just ended your relationship with your daughter for fairy tales. Good luck with that.

~Abandoning Eden

Also apparently I've inspired a whole debate, complete with crazies, over at Jewish Atheists blog


  1. I don't think you should answer your father's letter - unless you feel you have to get the last word. But, I don't think he'll let you - he'll write back, then this will continue.
    I think what he's doing is so sad. I can't imagine ever cutting off contact with one of my children. I really wonder if your father knows the true meaning of love. Whoops, I just said I wouldn't bad mouth your father - I'm shutting up again.

  2. yeah, I don't think I'm going to answer him either. That's why I'm posting my imaginary letters here instead of sending them to him :)

  3. Apparently, Im one of the "crazies"

  4. Nahh. Jewish Philosopher appears to be 4 commandments shy of a Tablet, though.

  5. And remember, tip your waiter and try the veal...

  6. You might not want to do it on shabbat and during sifera because then even if your parents DO decide to come they wont.
    And if you ever talk, lets say 10 years from now, they cant say "WE WANTED TO COME! IT WAS YOU WHO STOPPED US!" If you wait and do it on a sunday then you can always leave the door open for them to "wise up" and for you to always be able to say "i kept it open to you. it was TOTALLY your choice."

  7. factual basis makes a good point.

  8. AE,

    'My sympathies on the complicated issue you've been dealing with.

    I'd like to give you a perspective from a non-believer who doesn't line up with those bashing your parents.

    If I were marrying a non-Jewish woman, and were making a reception, I would tell all my Orthodox family members, including my father (and mother if she were still alive) that they were welcome to attend, but that I know it would make them very uncomfortable, and I wouldn't be angry or surprised if they chose not to attend.

    Respecting family members, it seems to me, is a two-way street.

    I know that looking out at the world through your eyes, you feel abandoned or betrayed by your parents; but looking out at the world through their eyes, they probably feel that you are not only "abandoning Eden" but abandoning them. Further, they would not only experience your wedding as tragic but as humiliating, in that it constitutes, in their eyes, a deep failure of theirs in not passing on the faith to their daughter and her potential progeny.

    Everyone deserves compassion and empathy, not only the younger generation.

    Now, whether what your parents are doing is wise, even for their best interests (especially considering your response) is another matter--but I urge you to rethink the notion that their decision is outrageous; that yours are the only feelings deeply hurt; or that they are the only ones being less than sensitive to family.

  9. I have been following your blog for a few weeks after I discovered it. First I want to say mazal tov. I hope you will accept my blessings for a good marriage and good children.
    Next I want to say that I find your point of veiw refereshing in general. -except for belief in God

  10. Ditto to Agnostic Writer. AE you had a differnt attitude before you invited them despite knowing they probably would not come. Further picture yourself having an anniversary remarriage with B. Suppose you and B have children who all become Orthodox and refuse to attend the ceremony. How would you react? Did you give the invitation to your parents with the impression given that if they don't come they are scum? Your father reacted in a way that not everyone would have. He restrained his hurt to let you know he loves you too and still wants a relationship with you. If it is too much for you to have it with your husband to be not a part of their life and that is understandable, understand they could be so hurt as to think it best not to meet B?

  11. Just passing through and thought I'd add in my two cents-

    I have to agree with agnosticwriter. My family just went through the same situation, ton of [two years worth of] drama and all, and we managed to do it without burning any bridges. Get your mom to listen to you, and then listen to her in return. It might take time, but it's worth it.

    As for my family, everyone made their own decisions about whether they would go or not. Some went gladly, others simply out of respect, and yet others didn't go. But even those that didn't go kindly explained and told her sorry... she understood, and there was a mutual agreement that nobody would be shutting doors on anyone else.

  12. You have been linked- I am cruious what my people would say about your saga- and I love reading about it- even if I dont always agree.

    Man why cant I fill in my website.

  13. AE,
    As you know from my previous posts, I think you have to do what is right for you. But (isn't there always a "but"?) I also think you should factor "regret" into your calculation.

    I had a brother with bipolar disease of whom I was afraid. In his illness phase, he seemed dangerous. My parents did try everything, and for several years I helped out. When he moved out of state, I did not keep in as close contact as I should have and I regret that. He came for a last visit before he ended his life, and I saw him, but I did not really see him. Given my Parent's efforts, I doubt anything I would have done would have changed anything, "but" I would have no regrets if I had kept in better contact.

    So I would recommend that you not close the door on your father (or even your mother), who has reasons for his feelings, even though you strongly (and reasonably) disagree. That doesn't mean I think you need to visit on Thanksgiving, just that you should continue to write occasionally, call occasionally, so that you don't have regrets later in life.


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