Thursday, June 23, 2016

And......the drama returns. Time for some RANTS.

Well that was a nice few years off from the dramatic bullshit.  But it's back.

A few days ago my cousin got married.  This is the one cousin on my mom's side who is NOT the child of the Horrible Aunt who, a few years ago, told me I couldn't have the contact information of all her 6 kids when I was sending out birth announcements because she didn't want them to "know about my "marriage" and life choices"(See this post).  The brides parents were the 'black sheep' of the previous generation by being extremely left wing MO and wearing pants and not covering their hair and stuff.  So B and I actually got invited to the wedding!  And since it coincided with the weekend of one of my favorite music festivals up North I decided to make a road trip out of it and go camping with a bunch of friends at the festival (which was AWESOME!) before heading to the wedding Sunday.  Kids were not invited so I left B and C at home down South and had a mom's weekend out.  First music festival since before I got pregnant! I used to go to 5 or 6 every summer... 

So I went to this wedding.  Horrible Aunt and I did not talk. I saw her once about two feet away from me and just turned around and walked the other way, and at another point she did the same to me, and we didn't talk. In fact, we had been seated at the same table, but she managed to change her table to a different table cause I scared her away so much!  Ha! Leaving me at the table with 5 out of 6 of her kids, who I spent all night hanging out with, sharing pictures of our kids with, and catching up with. Also showed some pics to my grandparents, hung out with my awesome Aunt and Uncle who are the parents of the Bride, and had fun hanging out with my brother's fiance during the ceremony when they had separate seating.  Also had fun hanging out with both my brothers and catching up with both of them.

Speaking of which, my little OTD brother is engaged! To pretty much the most awesome kick assiest lady ever! I mean seriously kick ass, she was on a roller derby team when they met!  Also, she is not Jewish. And they've been together like 6 years and living together like 3 of those I think.

So at the end of the wedding, 4 amaretto sours in, after all the drama was avoided with my extended family, I ended up getting in a fight (not yelling, just confrontily disagreeing) with my dad because he is now saying he will not go to my brother's wedding to a non jewish woman next year just like he didn't come to my wedding 7 years ago. For new readers: After my parents didn't come to my wedding we didn't talk for several years but then reconciled a bit when my dad had heart surgery and then 3 years ago when I had a kid he (and my mom, who I have totally given up on) started coming to visit every 6 months or so. And sending us 10 million jewish books and crap like that.  We also have taken a trip up North once a year, so my parents end up seeing my kid 2-3 times a year.  Them and B have even been getting along.  I had somehow fooled myself into thinking he was now a more rational person. 

But meanwhile, wtf, apparently he has learned NOTHING from that whole horrible experience, and he even asked why I am upset he's not coming to my brother's wedding since "It's not me." Um, WTF. If he doesn't see how this would be super insulting and hurtful to me then he is just stupid or being willfully blind. Plus, as I told him, how am I supposed to let him get all close to my daughter, just so he can hurt her by not coming to her wedding in 25 years? He was all like "is that a threat" and I was all "well just like mom told me when I got married, every action has consequences, and the consequences of you not coming to my brother's wedding is that I don't know that you won't hurt my kid in the future and I don't want to spend time with you." and then he got on all about how I have to respect his beliefs or whatever.

Which is fucking bullshit, I have to respect the beliefs that are tearing my family apart? Should I respect the beliefs of a muslim imam who stones a rape victim cause it's their "Beliefs"? Is he fucking respecting MY beliefs and decision to raise my kid without religion by sending me jewish books for every obscure holidays and trying to shove religion down my kid's throat? ARGHHHHH

I cannot BELIEVE I am going through all this again. I know this is my brother's fight, not mine, but it's like fucking deja vue all over again right here. And I'm not going to sit back silently while my father shits all over his kids and creates more family rifts with his fucking bullshit cult membership ideas. Cause lawd knows everyone else in the family is probably just yessing him.

OTOH I don't want to drive him further away which is why I'm ranting here and not in an email to him that I really want to write. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to ACTUALLY change his mind about coming? I mean I know my kid is the ultimate trump card and I am not above using her in that way (especially since I feel it protects her to not have a relationship with people who abuse their family like this) but I also don't want to go all nuclear and make my dad double down on being a stubborn asshole...I feel like I want to save that for right before the wedding if he is still being stubborn by then, when I can be like "If you want to see my kid you can see her at my brother's wedding or not at all."

My brother already went to my dad's rabbi with him to try to have the rabbi be a mediator, and his rabbi was basically like "you should give some money to tzedakah" and some other useless horseshit. I HATE THESE FUCKING PEOPLE.  Meanwhile I'm supposed to go up north with B and C to visit my parent/brothers in August and I already was like "We'll see" when my dad was like "see you in August" at the end of our fight which was basically when we were leaving the wedding (I stayed over at my brother's house and then drove home the next day)....but I still want to go to see my brother, and after stewing on this during my 10 hour drive home, I figure this will be another opportunity to try to convince my dad in person to go to the wedding..and another chance for him to hang out with my kid one last time and see what he will miss when he doesn't go to this wedding. Cause I don't think he is welcome in my house anymore, so I doubt we'll be having his regular December visit this year.

Actually I woke up on Monday and cried a little before my brother woke up...cause I am so sad I am being put in this position again.  How much has religion hurt my family? It ruined my entire fucking childhood, and even living 10 hours away from my old community, it manages to reach out and hurt my adulthood too. Recently C was looking at pictures from our wedding and asked where "Bobby and Sabba were."  Tore my fucking heart out.  What am I supposed to tell her when she's a year older and smarter, asking where they are at her Uncle D's wedding?   I wish I had never introduced them to her at all.



  1. This isn't a direct response to your post, but I wanted to say THANK YOU for your blog. I went through a similar experience (although somewhat easier, with modern orthodox parents) in college, and didn't know anyone IRL who I could relate to. Your blog (and the many commentors) made me feel like I wasn't alone.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. your welcome! And my parents are modern orthodox too :) Although my dad goes to a lubavich shteible to daven when he's not running his own basement minyan. But he has a tv! And internet! So modern...

    Anyway if you are on facebook there is a great group called "Off the Derech" where I've been hanging out all these years :) There are lots of people who have gone through the same thing. You should totally join!

    1. Sorry autocorrect misspell

      If I were you I'd tell C her Bobby and Sabba aren't such good people (and I'm sorry but from what I've heard of them they aren't, yes my parents were religious but their love to me and my siblings came first and relgion came second, it sound ms like its the opposite with your family.) and you thought they were getting better but mommy was wrong (that's another great lesson for C that while she should listen to mommy and daddy, sometimes they are wrong since they are human just like her.) and refusing to go to their child's wedding for the second time is crossing the line. Honestly they don't seem worth it. Besides you have a much healthier happier family with B,C your brother and your cousins. Cut out the negativity it sounds horrible and you shouldn't have to deal with it anymore after so long.

  4. If I may respectfully offer a different perspective, I think that perhaps your expectations for your parents are too high. They will not change their beliefs that intermarriage is the ultimate wrong and cannot be "condoned" (which in their circles includes going to an intermarriage) in any way and for any reason. Those were the exact same views they held when you married B. I have been following your blog since then (congrats on C! She is adorable!), and it seems what has happened since C was born is that you guys have reached a way of dealing with each other--they see you and B and C very infrequently, everyone plays nice for a few hours, and then everyone goes home and lives their own lives. It seems to me that what is bringing all of this up again for you is your brother's marriage and the deja vu aspect of it all. I am just wondering why you were expecting a change when, as you have said, they often stay with you for as little as 4 hours even though you live over twice that distance away from them. Did you think that they regretted not having come to your wedding? (I am not being snarky here. I really don't know). If you think that their not-going-to-intermarriages policy makes it worth it to cut them out of your daughter's life, then that's your call. If you want to write your father a pointed email explaining to him that you think it is wrong for them not to go, and that you don't know how you will explain it to your daughter when she is older, but then you want to go back to your way of being with them after your brother's wedding, that's your call, too.

  5. No easy advice, just a couple of questions/observations:

    1. What does your brother want? Is he really wanting you as an ally on this issue, or is there any chance that he'd rather have them stay home if they can't be totally happy at his wedding?

    2. Re C: Whatever you decide, keep in mind that C is not you, and your parents are not her parents. To her, they are just some nice people she sees for a few hours each year. Their actions or attitudes, if the relationship stays that limited, will not have the power to devastate her.

    3. Consider returning awkward to sender. I would simply tell your father what C asked about your wedding pictures, and ask him how he would like to explain it to C.

    4. How does your future SIL feel about everything? Is this a situation where she might feel that she wouldn't want any relationship with your parents if they didn't come to the wedding, or would she let it go? Only she can answer that, but you might mention it in conversations with your dad. Just because they have a bit of a relationship with you now, there is no guarantee that your brother and his wife would feel the same way.

    5. At some point, you may need to accept that your power to change your parents views is limited (as they need to accept that they have limited power over your views).

  6. I have virtually nothing in common with you other than I think you and I got married within a day of each other, and I also have a little daughter “C”, who’s now 4. But I’ve read your blog for years, not because I can directly empathise with the issues you’ve had, but more because my mother suffered some of the same things under the guise of staunch presbyterianism, and I find your story fascinating, and a window into a piece of humanity I’ve never actually experienced myself. I’ve missed your posts over the last, what, couple of years? and whilst I’m glad to see another post, I’m sorry to hear that the reason for it isn’t a happy one.

    Anyway. As a complete outsider, I do have to agree with several observations by other commenters. Your daughter probably won’t give a toss about her grandparents as she sees them so little. I had a very close relationship with mine and even named my two children after them, but my husband had no relationship with his grandparents due to a family rift and he couldn’t care less. He isn’t bothered one bit, doesn’t feel any lack whatsoever. I think it’s more likely the grandparents in situations like these who would be bothered by lack of a relationship with their grandchild.

    Also, I hate to stick up for you father here, but I do have to say this … He’s in a very tricky position here. He didn’t go to your wedding because you married “outside”. How could he possibly go to your brother’s wedding now, when your brother’s doing exactly the same thing? He’s damned if he does (because how unfair would THAT be, boycotting his daughter’s wedding but not his son’s), and damned if he doesn’t (you go apeshit and withhold access to his granddaughter).

    Your current relationship with your parents reminds me of my relationship with many of my Facebook “friends” (don’t laugh!). A lot of people on my friends list are in my personal category of “not hugely invested in, don’t want to maintain a close relationship with, but am happy to have them on the periphery of life, only making contact every so often”. Now I absolutely know that is not an idea situation for parents and children to be in. They are not just casual acquaintances who befriended each other on FB just so they could keep in very loose touch. But, it seems to me from what I read here that you’ve achieved some sort of tenuous balance in a new form of relationship that works with them. That relationship reminds me of my “outer circle” of FB friends, yes, but if that’s what it is, that’s what it is. And is it such a bad thing? Maybe that’s just the place in your life they have to occupy, and that’s the way it is?

    The question is, do you want to keep this relationship as it has been for the last few years? Or do you want to break it over what’s happening with your brother’s wedding? I am not implying right or wrong, good or bad, here; you are the only one who can answer honestly whether the latest developments are worth breaking this fragile new link you have forged with them over the last few years.

    For what it’s worth, I can’t see your father ever changing to the extent that he’d completely accept an “outsider”. He sounds far too entrenched, far too brainwashed. Maybe you need to reframe the way you look at the relationship you have with him now; maybe you should think it’s actually a success, a positive thing, given exactly how entrenched he is in his views. Maybe this IS a success because it’s as far as he is able to go, given his own upbringing and the cult-like brainwashing he has always lived with. Maybe he’s actually stepped so far out of his comfort zone in accepting what he has so far that you should regard ANY relationship with him as a minor miracle? (I’m an atheist, I don’t believe in miracles, but you know what I mean!)

  7. Sorry, I actually wrote too much to fit in one comment box, so here's the last bit of what I wanted to say:

    So, as someone in a different part of the world from you who’s had a radically different upbringing (atheist! Yay!), these are my observations and thoughts. I’m absolutely NOT siding with your father, incidentally; I’m just pondering how you can maintain some form of relationship. If you want to, that is. But to be honest, I wouldn’t bother for your daughter’s sake. Kids don’t miss what they haven’t had, and whether grandparents are close, distant, or non-existent, it only matters to the kid as much as you make it matter.

  8. Any idea what you are going to do, AE?


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