Monday, December 17, 2012

Intermission: So I AM invited home?

So this is a non previously written post. I still have around 2-3 weeks of scheduled posts until we catch up with the present day re: trying to conceive (which will post every Monday Wednesday and Friday- one just posted a few minutes ago) but here's a post about some stuff going on in real time.

On Friday I happened to talk to my parents and they mentioned they were having a big family get together on Sunday. Which I of course was not invited to, despite the fact that we've supposedly 'reconciled' over a year ago and I could have TOTALLY gone since my semester ended a week ago and I've mostly been sitting around all week since then (today I'm going back to work though sadly, need to start getting some research done as I have to revise a journal article that got a "Revise and resubmit" that is due February, and write another paper to submit to a conference in January).

Anyway last night my dad sent me like 100 pictures of the family gathering which made me realize just how long it's been since Ive been home...I haven't been home since 2009. My family is getting old.  My grandparents have aged rapidly. My cousins all have kids and those kids are no longer babies. My baby cousin is an adult teenager.  I haven't seen any of them in years.  My dad said in the email "Everyone was here for our chanukah party today"

So I wrote back: "Everyone minus a few.  Must have missed our invite."

And this was my dad's response: "Obviously, it was intended for local folks who could drive here. I had no idea you wanted to be invited to these things, being 9 hours away.  The next scheduled family lunch is for Purim at Aunt E's house."

So now I'm just confused.  Really?  He had no idea I wanted to be invited home when my entire extended family was invited over?  I mean I live 9 hours away now, but for the first 2 years of not being invited home I lived only 2 hours away. And I regularly drive 9-10 hours to visit my inlaws every Thanksgiving and Christmas, which he knows about.  And plus, we both know the reason I haven't been invited home all these years is cause of B.  So what the hell is this email? Is he just trying to pretend like the last 5 years never happened?  And now I'm invited to my (Chaeredi/ultra orthodox) Aunt E's place for Purim next year? (which I can't go to, that's right in the middle of the semester).  I don't know, I don't know what to write back to this, but I feel like he's trying to act all coy and innocent like it's somehow been my fault for not coming there to visit more often, when I've specifically been excluded from being invited home for several years. 

Tentative draft of a response: "Yes of course I want to be invited to family get togethers, why wouldn't I? You know we visit B's parents 2-3 times a year and they live 10 hours away, we wouldn't be able to come up to visit you? We probably wouldn't come up for every get together, and we would need some advanced notice so we could arrange a dogsitter, but we could probably make it up there once a year or so...the only thing stopping us is that we have never been invited." 


  1. In this case, I think you're overreacting. Your father is probably not thinking of your academic schedule. It's not typical to invite someone who lives 9 hours away for an afternoon Chanukah party. And he did extend the invitation for Purim, even though you can't go.

  2. I think he missed you during the estrangement, and now he's trying to stumble around and figure out how to build a new relationship with a 30 year old daughter after messing up the old one.

    A toxic power struggle with an adolescent/young adult was a big part of the blow-up, along with the fact that your father never really seemed to understand your thinking. [The rejection of B was the last straw, but the relationship was already bad by the time you met him.] two are basically building something new, as opposed to simply continuing where you left off. It makes sense to acknowledge that, and to be clear about the parameters, instead of either ignoring the past few years or continuing to engage in the same destructive arguments.

    I'd write:

    "Seeing the family pictures reminded me of how much I had missed these past few years, when I wasn't welcomed after marrying B. I'm happy to know that you are now willing to invite me to family events, and assume that B will be welcome to attend with me. It's a step forward in re-building our relationship. B and I do drive 10 hours to see his parents on Thanksgiving and Christmas, so we would be able to drive 9 hours to see you from time to time. Unfortunately, we won't be able to make it to Aunt E's, as the timing is right in the middle of my semester, but please continue to let us know about future events. We won't be able to come to each one, but if the timing works with my schedule and we get enough advance notice to arrange a dogsitter, we should be able to visit at least once a year."

  3. tesyaa I'm not upset he invited me to something I can't go to...I'm just kinda baffled by this whole email, as just last year (2011) thanksgiving I had a convo with my dad about how I miss being invited home for holidays (when I couldn't go to my cousin's wedding the day before thanksgiving because I would have had nowhere to go because I wasn't invited home for thanksgiving. And that's when he encouraged me to call my mom, and we ended up "reconciling" or whatever. And now like a year later he's like "What do you mean you wanted to be invited to family events, that thought had never crossed me mind!" It just seems...I don't know.

  4. Maybe he was hesitant to invite you to a Chanuka party?

  5. AE, My knee jerk reaction is to want to smack your father. He's beyond lucky to have you for a daughter and he's still caught up in the bs community/frummie stuff. He doesn't know how to deal with the past and so selective amnesia seems like a safe way to go. The problem with that is that if nothing is acknowledged/discussed, there are no clear boundaries. You've been incredibly strong through these last years and as you reestablish contact with your family you'll need that strength. If you attend extended family simchas, will some family members snub you or B? Will you feel constrained to be a different way amongst them? I'm sure that just being in your family home again will be so emotional. Even without Clomid! And while I think your parents are trying, the more time you spend with them, the more their controlling natures will surface. I know that you want a relationship with them and I understand. I was estranged from my mother for many years. I suppose I want to tell you to protect yourself and keep your expectations low. They are who they are...

  6. I am wondering if whether your Dad simply finds religion to be a topic that is too hot to handle. So he tries to skirt around the issue. Either he didn't want to invite you, or he sincerely assumed that you wouldn't want to celebrate a religious holiday with your religious family.
    Either way it's up to you to be the adult in the situation and broach difficult topics with sensitivity. Like "Dad, how does it make you feel to have your non religious daughter around your relatives" if you suspect he's simply ashamed to have you around....
    Not fair, I know, but that's the way it is....
    You can also bring it up yourself "even though I'm not religious, a holiday is an important family event for me."
    If you've already tried these things and they haven't worked, sorry

  7. Actually I don't mean religion itself (which I know your dad can't get enough of) but personal feelings about religion, which aren't exactly the same thing.
    Perhaps personal feelings in general.

  8. Shira- maybe, but I also wasn't invited to thanksgiving, or my family's annual memorial day bbq (which ironically was a family tradition started to celebrate my birthday, and now I don't even get an invite).

    Kisarita- I don't know, he doesn't seem hesitant to talk about religion when he calls me up on erev-every holiday to ask if I'm doing anything for the holiday or asks if he can bring a mezuzah to my house or telling me to go to yom kippur services to daven so I can get general he seems to have no qualms at all about pushing religion...

  9. I think your parents have no idea how to handle your relationship.

    If you think you can go for Memorial Day, I would just send an email a bit before saying "Are you still doing the Memorial Day BBQ? We are free and would love to join you."

  10. This is what I decided to write back:

    Hi Abba,

    Of course I want to be invited to family get togethers! Yes we live 9 hours away, but that's just about as far as we live from B's parents, and we drive to visit them 2-3 times a year. I like our family...and it makes me sad to see all those pictures and realize it's been over 4 years since I've been home, as everyone (Boby and Zaidy especially but also Y) looks so much older. I just assumed we weren't welcome since, well, I haven't gotten any invitations home since I got engaged to B. But if that is no longer the case I am very glad to hear that.

    We probably won't be able to go to most things since I do live 9 hours away, but I'm sure we can make it up maybe once a year or so, if we are invited and have enough advance notice so we can arrange a dogsitter. Especially to events like this one which wasn't during the semester. We probably won't be able to make it to E's since that's right in the middle of the semester, but I appreciate the invitation, and please do invite us to future events and we will try to come every once in a while.


  11. u should prob tell him that if religion or dres makes a difference to him u will come modet looking so he shouldnt be ashamed of u and tell him that he should tell u what his problems are by inviting u and u will work it out for him
    that might help very much

  12. Yeah well he never wrote back! And he's sent me like 3 other emails about other stuff since I sent him I don't know.

  13. I have a relative who has a vacation home near me, but never invites me over to visit when they're there. Other relatives mentioned this, and I got the vague message that I should call them and invite myself (I don't have their number, and I don't do that.) But somehow me not getting invited is put back on me for...not being invited?

  14. This is my first time posting here. Have enjoyed (is that the right word? It's so painful . . .) reading your OTD story. I want to write more but first, in relation to this post, email him and ask him to confirm that he received your email. Tell him you will accept that perhaps he does not want to respond or does not know how to respond, whatever, but that you just want to make sure he got it. It does happen that sometimes emails or phone messages never arrive at their destination. It has happened to me before, and I fretted over what it meant to be ignored by my recipient, only to learn that my email went into a spam file or something. This is so important, I would want to KNOW whether I'm being ignored or whether the email was never even received. Chances are, he got it and just doesn't know what to say. Your parents may well be grappling with their own beliefs, have their own doubts, wondering whether following "halacha" as they've always known it is really worth the pain of losing their daughter, and now, grandchildren. Unlike you, they probably have no one to encourage them to think outside the frum box. Good luck, and wishing you healing surrounding this issue.


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