Saturday, December 24, 2011

Our First Shabbat

last week i went to hadera at the last minute to be with the kids for shabbat. my son had requested me to join with the sephardi family clan for a shabbat bar mitzvah. still feeling slighted and uneasy, i had refused to go. finally, it came to light, that my new granddaughter was being named there. a kiddush was not going to take place here.

i was riddled with guilt but i still didn't feel like shlepping to hadera. i didn't like leaving the dogs alone, either. the last direct bus was at 11:00 a.m. i was still debating whether to go or not when a girlfriend called to say hello. she kind of shamed me into going. i quickly tossed a few things into a bag and called a taxi.

although it was a simcha, the family was still in deep mourning for the grandmother of the clan. i managed to make some chocolate tefillin and baby buggies before i left. i also brought a few packages of novelty napkins for both the bar mitzvah boy and new parents. it did add a bit of simcha.

i thought it was worth it all, when my son looked up and saw me waving to him from the women's section in the shul. i was his only family member there. his wife didn't make it to the shul. he actually, came over to me and hugged me on his own accord. it was the first time, in years, i may add.

i spent the first night of chanukah alone. the kids came up to light the huge chanukah menorah but sahar was not with them. he was at his grandparents' home. i gave them each a token present, socks and underwear, and they left. i had bought a diego doll for sahar and my son took it with him to give to sahar. i was really hurt. not only did i miss out on seeing his reacton to the gift, but i was left alone while they were all celebrating together.

i let my son know the next day, how upset i was. he accused me of being a 2 year old and reassured me that they would be coming to me for shabbat. i tried to let him know that i wasn't sure if i really wanted to make shabbat for them. it went way over his head.

the next night they, all 3 of them, came upstairs to light. i gave sahar a token chanukah coloring book and box of crayons and a cardboard dreidel filled with goodies. my son asked me to make latkes for them. i was feeling very uneasy with the daughter-in-law sitting there. i complied with his request and hassled to fry up some latkes while sahar colored and his mom nursed the baby. i also made a greek salad.

i invited a few friends over on thursday evening, the third night of chanukah. it was the third anniversary of my mother's passing. i was very emotional. i have an 'official' latke nlight every year. this year i tried to get creative. i made plain potato latkes for my friend, the purest. i made sweet potato and veggie latkes for my other friend who doesn't eat white potatoes. and i made pumpkin latkes for a friend who doesn't eat potatoes at all. i also made cheesey corn fritters, just for the heck of it.

i made home made applesauce and a greek salad. i served regular sour cream, and a soft goat cheese spread. i made chocolate coins, menorahs and dreidels. i set the table with menorah napkins and tons of assorted dreidels. i placed 14 chocolates around the table, strategically, and went off to the computer room. when i got back to the table all the chocolates were gone. there were candy foils and lolly sticks all over the floor. i can't say for sure, if both the dogs were in on this caper. i tend to think that it was cloey the beast, who ate all 14 chocolates.

the evening was very cozy and sentimental. i spoke very lovingly of my mom. my sister did not join us. she invited me to come over for a game of dreidel and i invited her to join us. i had a shot or two of whiskey and cleaned up a bit. i still have some greasy pans to wash out. my son let me know that they were definately, planning on being here for shabbat. i defrosted some fish, and chicken cutlets, and a small piece of meat.

on friday afternoon, i decided to make a spicy stewed fish and fried chicken cutlets. afterall, it was still chanukah. for lunch, i made a small beef cholent for my son and plain boiled potatoes for my daughter-in-law. i made fresh corn and white rice. i made cooked swiss chard which the kids like, and a tossed green salad. i also made an avocado and egg salad and a mixed colarabi salad.

i got woken up at 8:30 a.m. on friday morning by my son. he was leaving for work and leaving me his son to watch for the day. i needed to get down to the cemetary by around 10:00 a.m. i made him some eggs which he didn't eat. i made him toast and cottage cheese which he just picked at. he was wilder than a mad hatter. i hadn't had the pleasure of his company for a couple of weeks, and he had definately, forgotten how to speak english. he also forgot what dogs were.

i struggled with him for a while and then called a cab. i grabbed a memorial candle and a box of matches and away we went. he fell asleep in my arms as soon as we took off. i was debating on leaving him sleep in the back seat with the driver but i grabbed him out of the cab and walked over to the graves of my parents. i quickly lit a candle for mom, put stones on each of their graves, wiped off a bit of dirt on mom's grave with a baby wipe, bent down and kissed both of their graves, and let out a primal cry. i didn't want to go.

i got back into the cab and continued to sob. i got home and put sahar onto the couch and started to cook. i baked a cheesecake and put up the fish. when he got up, i took him on his bike, to the spermarket and bought challah and a few more veggies. i bought a cake because i din't have enough time left to make one. i gave him his bath and returned him to his mom downstairs at around 2:00 p.m. i really hussled to finish cooking and clean up. candlelighting was at 4:00 p.m.

i don't think it was the best meal i ever made but one of the most pressured times i've had. sahar was really sick over shabbat. he had a fever and was hyper active. i watched him for a few hours in the morning while his mom rested and his dad went to shul. he tore my house apart. it will have to stay that way until tomorrow. i am way too tired to do dishes or anything else tonight. it was a pleasant shabbat, you could say, even though i forgot to buy chumus.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Caught In The Middle

mazel tov! i have a brand new granddaughter. gal gave birth on friday night. it was a hard wait for me. shabbat came in at 4:30 p.m. and that was the last comunication i had with my son. i was banned from coming for the birth so i stayed home like a lunatic. i couldn't concentrate nor do simple tasks.

i walked down to the hospital on saturday morning at around 8:30 a.m. it took me well over an hour. i arrived to an empty room. i tried persuading the nurses to let me get a quick peak at the new baby but it didn't happen. i waited for a while in the corridor until i finally spotted my son with his wife. i had to ask my son if i could give him a congratulatory hug and kiss. my daugter-in-law barely acknowledged my presence. she was feeling dizzy so i ran to make her a cup of tea.

she seemed unnerved that she hadn't seen the baby yet. i got up and went to the nurses station to inquire what was taking so long. that action was perceived as one of interference. gal then let me know that she, the mother of the baby, hadn't even seen her yet, implying that i was already to hone in on the baby. i feebly, tried to explain that i had made the gesture for her and not for myself. a moment later, her 3 sisters arrived. the baby finally came. the nurse spent a good deal of time explaining things to the young parents. one would have assumed that this was their first child. i was afraid to make a move to look at the baby.

i tried to make a joke and my son told me to cool it. i tried to encourage gal, as she tried to breast feed. my son told me that i was infringing on an intimate moment. after a while, my son asked if i wanted to hold the baby. i honestly, wanted nothing to do with the baby or her parents. my feelings were really hurt. i was made to feel like an intruder by both my son and his wife.

a little while later, her married sister showed up with her baby and husband. zvi ran off with the men and gal began a lively conversation with her sister. i tried my best to enter the conversation more than once, but it was clear that i was an outsider. i spent the rest of the time fetching drinks for my daughter-in-law, while everyone else munched out on the treats i had sent up before shabbat. i couldn't take another moment at the hospital, so i left. i was politely, thanked for coming. i was the only one she did not hug or kiss.

i decided to go to the in-laws' and visit my grandson. i cried as i climbed up the long road from the hospital. this should have been the happiest time of my life but it wasn't. my grandson was very happy to see me. when i got up to leave he came running over to go home with me. that wasn't in the plan. he was being taken to the hospital to see his mom and new baby sister. i patiently hung around until my son came to get him. the maternal grandmother went with them. i went home.

my son returned home late and asked me to give sahar a bath. it was well past his bedtime and the house was freezing. i offered to bathe him in the morning before he went to maon. i was accused of interference, once again. the kid's mother wanted him to be bathed at night. i was then informed that i could no longer enter the downstairs from inside my house because the new mother had no privacy. i was instructed to lock the door between the floors. i am now supposed to go outside and down the stairs to knock on their door. the fact that they all trapse through my house is not an issue. fine, let sahar go outside and up the stairs to see me. maybe that's the point. sahar shouldn't see me.

okay i get it. my daughter-in-law and i are finally engaging in a power struggle. she lives in my house but wants me out of their lives. every thing that i do for them, including laundry, is now seen as interference. perhaps it always was, and it has just now, come to a head. i realize now that she does not consider me family. i am simply, her husband's mother. i am not her family. i happen to be the biological grandmother of her 2 children but we are not family. i am the silly old woman who lives upstairs with her 2 dirty dogs who has a bunch of weird middle aged friends.

the next morning, my son left with sahar. we were not speaking because we had words the night before. he called to apologize from the hospital. i had no desire to go back again. i broke down and cried. he told me that gal wanted me to come. she didn't understand why i wasn't there. i was in no hurry to oblige. i did my laundry and some of theirs'. i spoke on the phone for hours. i got an s.o.s call from my son letting me know that visiting hours was almost over. i called a cab and rushed over.

i didn't get much of a reception. a moment later her mom came. after that my sister came. my sister had a heartfelt conversation with gal and got to hold the baby. the guards told us to leave so i did. zvi asked me to walk with him to the car. her mother took the baby and hugged her and placed her back into the cart. gal kissed them both goodbye and i left without any type of exchange.

i guess it is my son who has been trying to include me in their family, perhaps out of guilt. afterall, i am supposed to be his 'ally', his blood. i am so tired of getting the cold shoulder. i am so threw with trying to be accepted and loved. i obviously, am not. i am threw with being at the mercy of a 21 year old. where has my dignity gone? how did i lose my humanity and identity? when did i become just gal's mother-in-law? what ever happened to my sense of humor?

yesterday i blew my wad on heaters for the downstairs. i will be the one paying the huge electric bill, to boot. the buck stops here! i will find my life again. i will make a nitch for myself that doesn't include the kids. i will not accompany them to a family bar mitzvah this week nor will i spend shabbat in hadera. i will not sit around a huge crowd and watch them all fawn over my new granchild in another language. i will not make myself available to them anymore. i will not do their laundry today, either. i don't think that i will be available for future shabbatons.

i fell asleep with my warm dog in my arms. shouldn't it be my new granddaughter? i know that i am supposed to be the adult here. one of these days, i will start acting like it. but for now, i will just stew in it.

Friday, December 9, 2011

We're Having A Baby

it's 12:30 p.m. in the holy city of zefat. shabbat comes in at 4:30 p.m. candlelighting is at 4:00 p.m. my daughter-in-law is in the hospital in labor. i don't know if the baby will make it in before shabbat. i have goodies and fruit and drinks to bring over before shabbat.

i am at home alone. sahar is with her family. the kids and the sephardi mom went over to the hospital last night at around 10:00 p.m. i wasn't even called. i called my son to ask how everyone was. i was advised not to come. frankly, i had no intention of going there last night. i was completely exhausted and wanted to chill out with a good police show or something. my new part time gig with the young lady, takes all of my energy. being in a cold house all day long, doesn't help one feel energized, either.

my son called and woke me up at around 1:00 a.m. to let me know that gal wasn't in labor. he then woke me up at around 2:00 a.m. to let him in. he left gal with her mom and sister for the night. i tried to wake him up at 7:00 a.m. as he had requested the night before, but he was really tired and non-compliant. he finally got up at around 8:00 a.m. and i was advised once again, not to come to the hospital. i muttered something under my breath about the trials of not having any daughters and my son started to get combative. i had to smoothe things out before he left for the hospital.

i took a very long and steaming hot shower to get relaxed and in motion. i went downstairs to the small supermarket and decided to blow some money. i bought candies and cookies and shabbat treats to bring to the hospital. i bought dried apricots for the soon to be new mom. they asked me to pick up a pacifier so i bought both pink and purple ones. they were on sale to boot. only cost me 4 shekels. how hilarious is that! i had bought a set of toiletries for the blessed event so i have a little gift to bring, too. i also bought a bag of newborn diapers and wipes, just in case .

i put up a small pot of chicken soup for myself and bought a few peppers. i managed to get back on the diet wagon this week and knocked off a couple of pounds. i really wanted to be svelte when my new grand-daughter arrived. i can't really get my head around the concept of a grand-daughter. i have wanted a daughter my entire life. a daughter-in-law doesn't do the trick.

my daughter-in-law told my son that i shoudn't feel offended. how exactly should i feel? why am i home alone? i'm not taking care of my grandson so why shouldn't i be at the hospital? i was there til the end the first time around. i could sit out in the hall this time if she doesn't want me in the room with her. the fact that she also doesn't want her sisters there doesn't do it for me. i am the grandmother. i am the mother of the sperm donor. why don't i have any rights.

i am the one who runs out to buy the baby blankets, the stretchies, the cute newborn outfits and the diapers. i am the one who bathes and puts the grandson to sleep when they're too tired but doesn't get to see him all week. i am the one who provides them with a place to live but has no voice. this blog is called the zelda monologue, right. it is the rantings of a middle aged lady living in zefat, correct?

i planned to run over to the hospital, just before candlelighting, and leave the food package for the kids. the walk home should take about an hour and a half or even more, depending on how fast i can move my body. my son just called to ask me to get his shabbat clothes in order. i offered to bring them over in a cab but once again i was instructed not to come. what did i ever do to my daughter-in-law to be forbidden from coming to the hospital?

how will they feel if i don't go to see the new baby? i guess i'll have to wait on line again. her family will get first dibs to hold the baby. last time i waited for an entire month for my turn. their reasoning being, that the baby would live here. my grandson lives downstairs and i go an entire week without seeing him. he is in maon all day and then he goes to the other family until bedtime. if i want to get a peak at him i can always watch him leave for daycare, from my kitchen window.

i am trying my darndest not to get emotional and hurt. now i have to run over to her sister's apartment to bring over the stuff for the hospital. they will be going near there later today for shabbat. zvi will have shabbat with his brother-in-law's family who live near the hospital. so in the end, i really don't need to send over any shabbat treats at all. they can all fend for themselves and i can fade into the oblivion for good.

shabbat shalom! let's hope there will be good news soon!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Living In A Small Town

it's 9:00 a.m. in the holy city of zefat. the kids left with sahar and i have my morning free. i did the laundry yesterday. we are enjoying warm and sunny weather. the houses remain cold and our bones creak but outside it's gorgeous and cozy.

last week we had a family crisis. gal's grandmother lost her 3 year battle with the dreaded big 'C' disease. we don't say the name of the disease. the entire family camped out for the entire week at the house in hadera. i stayed in zefat with sahar on the day of the funeral. the next day i journeyed to hadera to pay a shiva call. gal decided to spend the week there with sahar.

it is hard to believe that just one month ago we were all at a family simcha together in zicron yakov. i pushed myself to go to the wedding because i had a gut feeling that safta esther wouldn't be with us much longer. she was an incredible lady, matriarch of a large and very close family. she will be sorely missed.

i spent all of friday doing a pessach cleaning of the kids' apartment. zvi left for shabbat to be with the family and i spent shabbat here, alone. we both figured that gal would want to come back to a clean apartment after such an ordeal. i did my best to comply. i had expected her to give birth in hadera and return with my new granddaughter. no such luck! the wait is still on, big time.

the mailman just had a special delivery for my neighbor. i knew that no one was home next store so i told him that i would sign for it. it is really funny. he knew my family name and remembered the address and building where i once lived, about 11 years ago. he even remembered the floor and on which side of the hall i was situated. talk about your good memory!

some people might condiser him to have the makings of a stalker but i felt very touched. sometimes, living in a small town has its benefits. i won't go into the down side right now. i'm feeling too warm and fuzzy. i just got a look at myself in the mirror. scary!! for starters, i'm wearing a huge forest green fleece robe over black tights and fuzzy slippers. i'm also wearing a teal blue ski hat with a pom pom on the top of my head. i said i was feeling cozy, remember.

i got a part time job caring for a 20 year old girl who is a high functioning austistic. she comes over every afternoon at around 4:00 p.m. and we chat and play games. i bake muffins every day for a treat and i cook dinner for her ,too. it is very demanding. she loves attention and loves to talk. she also loves to eat. we listen to music and she beats me at the game 'set'. it is the weirdest card game ever.

i keep saying that the game should be called 'not a set' or 'unsettling' because it really requires thinking out of the box. a set can be three cards that are totally different and have no commonality, whatsoever. it blows my mind but it does help pass the time. she stays for 4 hours and i find myself totally exhausted afterwards. my grandson doesn't especially warm up to her or vice versa. yesterday, he joined us at dinner time and requested toast and cottage cheese with a side order of canned corn.

i decided that we should take a long walk. i was feeling very headachey. my sinuses were all blocked up. i had fallen off the diet wagon and had binged for a couple of days. being outside, was much more comfortable for me. we walked around the neighborhood for about an hour. i was instructed to encourage her to sit and read in silence for a 45 minute period. i willingly enforced it. it really helped me. listening to someone 'blebble on', as my mom used to call it, for 4 hours is a harsh and grueling task.

i have only met with this young lady three times. i don't know if i'll be able to make it through an entire month. i'm already out of food ideas. i am not used to cooking on a daily basis. i'm used to eating tuna and yogurt and nuts. i can't afford to serve her this. last night i served her an onion omelette, corn and mashed potatoes. i sliced up a tomato and green pepper into rings. she had a hard time with the concept. she liked her salad all cut up into small pieces. i handed her the knife and cutting board and told her to knock herself out.

i still have some corn mufins left over so i won't have to bake today. i might make her french toast for supper. i am trying to be economical here. i am not getting a lot of money for this gig. at this point, any amount will help pay the fuel bill.

i might have her make tahina and sesame cookies for a project today. if it's nice outside, i'll make her go for a walk again. last week, we went to town for a shopping outing. i bought more baby clothes and she bought a favorite game. it was a bit of a strain having someone with me when i shop.

so far, it's working out. i figure that no matter where i might work, that it will be hard. i'm used to being a caregiver and a babysitter. this way, i don't need to travel or even, leave my house. it isn't easy giving up my afternoons like this, but i really have no other choice. i don't seem to be able to get weekday rentals now. most people want to be downtown in the old city or artist colony these days.