Monday, October 08, 2007


It’s not enough to treat others as you’d like to be treated yourself. I say you’ve got to treat yourself the way you want others to treat you.

When I was pregnant, unwilling to force paternity on anyone, I offered Babydaddy an out: He’d not claim paternity, and he’d never hear from me or my baby again. But he decided to claim paternity.

So now my mother is right—I do need to do all I can to facilitate a warm and loving relationship between my daughter and her Abba and her Abba’s family, who live in another city.

But part of having a good relationship is mutual respect.

I know the more I insist upon my needs, the more I am respected. But one gets really, really tired of insisting. I’m sorry that this chag seemed all about boundaries instead of celebration.

The big negotiation this time was the 3-hour express train to bring my daughter to her father, grandmother and aunt. I could have left an hour earlier for half the price on a regional, but it would have meant missing 5 hours of my nanny’s 27 hours of babysitting that short work week, instead of 4.

I know it seems insignificant, but I really wanted to work till the last minute. Abba, of course, wanted me to take the earlier, cheaper train, since he pays transportation for me to take his daughter to him (last visit’s big negotiation).

I thought about it and realized I’d be resentful if I did, so I offered to take the earlier train if Abba would babysit 5 hours on Sunday so I could work. Nope, he couldn’t. I took the later, more expensive train. Though I am still a little panicked about my work.

Second challenge was getting them to give me a break. This visit, Abba assumed that he and his sister take the baby to the park while I attend shul with his mother, who is elderly and in need of supervision.

Grandmother is a wonderful woman, but Simchat Torah services are not a care-swapping opportunity. So in the end I danced with my laughing, dancing baby and her cloth torah. Grandmother watched, though the services weren’t quite what she was used to. I have no idea what Abba and Auntie did.

I’m not one to raise my voice or throw a fit, unless I’m hooked up to oxygen and i.v. and bleeding in a hospital delivery room when I had been expecting a natural birth with midwives in a birthing center. But, I suppose conflict is sometimes an unavoidable precondition to peace.

I look forward to more joyful, meaningful chagim in the future.

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