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.


  1. Hi, Zelda. I've been away from the blog for a while--my university studies have consumed all my time. Thankfully the semester is over now! Congratulations on the addition of a granddaughter to the family. I'm sorry the arrival has been somewhat bitter/sweet. It sounds like you're dealing with a young woman who's still somewhat immature and insecure. Hopefully having two children will help her grow a little more. I acted goofy with my first child too, but as soon as the second one came along, my ideas changed fast! I realized how much help I needed and was grateful to get it!

  2. Girl,get a grip and a life as Gal ain't growing up and won't until her kids do to her what she is disgustingly doing to you! Stop being so nice to them.You give them a roof over their heads and buy them or Sahar things all the time. Enough! They can't seem to appreciate all that you do for them.
    You have friends who love you and care for you!!!
    If you ever need to kvetch also verbally-call me whenever you need to.