Monday, June 13, 2016

Modern Family

it is 12:00 p.m. in the holy city of zefat.  the little kids are watching a movie downstairs.  I snuck away for a bit.  the big kids went to work.  the holiday finally ended last night.   we had a blowout on Saturday evening.  my son was drinking way too much throughout Shabbat.  he loves his whiskey.  after lunch they all went downstairs to the pool.  my son eventually went to sleep and the daughter-in-law stayed in the pool with the kids.  earlier, the kids were acting awful.  they were screaming and whining for hours.   on Shabbat morning the granddaughter wanted lasagna and the grandson wanted the pool.  it was most annoying.  my friend eventually complained.  I told my daughter-in-law that this was a recent behavior where they demanded things that I didn't have.  she said that they didn't do this to her.   I was blamed for not setting limits.

I was also blamed for overfeeding my grandson.  I gave him a few cheese latkes before lunch.  usually the kids eat way too much sweets in the morning.   he asked for more and before I could give him any, he grabbed a huge fistful of latkes from the serving dish.  before I could intercept the latkes, the daughter-in-law did.   I let my granddaughter, who is very skinny, have some ravioli.  my grandson also took some.  I gave my granddaughter a few more because she hadn't eaten anything the day before.  my grandson also got a couple but I was told that it wasn't fair to give one child and not the other.  I am being educated by my daughter-in-law who is 40 years younger than me.

my granddaughter got stung by something at the table.  the mother went into a bit of a panic and couldn't find anything.  I asked my daughter-in-law to bring her into the hallway, where there was more light, so I could see.  my son, who was drunk, told me not to interfere.  I was able to find a definite bite mark on her leg.  after lunch, I went to my bedroom to nap.  it had been a rough morning.  I was awakened by the noise downstairs.  the kids were in the pool and let's just say, they weren't being quiet.  I managed to go back to sleep until around 5:00 p.m. when the kids woke me up by entering my room looking for scissors.  I eventually got up to supervise the little kids.  my grandson was being very rambunctious.  he didn't nap.  my friend, who had been playing board games with him, finally lost it on him.  she told him to go downstairs to his parents.

I also lost my patience but I was able to get it together.  at 7:30 p.m. I called down to my son to ask if he wanted to come upstairs to have some coffee and cheesecake before the holiday began.  usually, at that hour he comes up for a third meal of salads and tuna fish.  the daughter-in-law usually showers the kids at that time, too.  my son came up in a rage.  apparently, I woke his wife and daughter up.  by that point my granddaughter was upstairs with me having chocolate milk.  I was about to read the kids a story when my son started a tirade against me.  my friend entered into the fray and I told her to bud out.  I was caught in the middle of a storm.

my son told me that there was 'bad' energy here.   I tried to explain that we were all overtired but he truly lost it on me.  he began screaming at me that I had coerced them into staying for the holiday when I clearly didn't have the patience.  something snapped in me and I screamed at him to leave my house and stop disrespecting me.  my son ordered his kids to go downstairs with him.  they in turn, started screaming and crying.   he may have physically removed them.  I wasn't looking at that point.  they had been sitting quietly waiting for me to read them a story.  it was a mess.

I have never hosted them for a Shabbat and holiday back to back.  they should have gone to the Sephardi family for Shabbat.  and of course, I never coerced them to be here for the holiday.  I simply asked my daughter-in-law if she was planning on going to her parents for the holiday.  she said that she preferred being home and wanted an all dairy menu.  I usually serve meat for one of the meals.  that conversation took place on Thursday night, a week before the holiday.

on the following Saturday afternoon, my son announced that they were planning on going to the in-laws for the holiday.  after all, they had been here for the last two Shavuots.  I replied that it was fine and that I would be joining my friends for the holiday.  I was truly not upset.  I was perplexed but relieved not to have to cook.   I was frustrated.  I should have kept my mouth shut but I didn't.  I told my son that I didn't appreciate these last minute switcheroo's all the time.  I guess he took that as coercion on my part.  I just don't get them.  it's true I don't set limits with them.

after the fight I sat outside for an hour.  I was broken.  I wanted to tell them that I wanted them to move out in the fall.  I decided then and there that it was the last holiday that I would host for them.  I couldn't see straight I was so upset.  it was very cold outside but I couldn't budge.  my son went off to synagogue with my grandson and muttered a happy holiday under his breath.  I didn't want to come out of my room.  my girlfriend went to sleep.  I got myself up and dressed.  I went inside to prepare salads and set the table.

it was not a pleasant meal.  my daughter-in-law hardly spoke except to ask if one of the cheeses was goat.  she hates the smell of goat cheese.  my son happily drank wine until it was time to go to the synagogue.  I tried to talk civilly to him.  of course, my son asked if I had lox.  I had indeed, gone to the supermarket to buy some but couldn't find any.  there is always something missing no matter how much I prepare.  is there any wonder that the small kids mirror this behavior.  I always go for perfection but no one is ever totally satisfied here.

I served ravioli but the kids wanted lasagna.  my grandson was having a meltdown during the meal because he was overtired.  at 10:30 p.m. the kids went downstairs.  I was wiped out.  I did the dishes and thought about washing the floors.  my grandson had totally trashed the floor while he ate his watermelon.  only downstairs, you are not allowed to spill a drop of water.  up here anything is allowed.  by 11:30 p.m. I was in bed.  my head hurt.  I hoped it was the brain tumor.  I truly wanted to die.

I woke up on the morning of the holiday and had a up of tea and a piece of the tiramisu.  it was truly decadent.  it was my best one ever.  I had added true almond extract and it tasted like marzipan.  it wasn't soupy because I had only dipped the fingers in half a cup of coffee.  the texture was excellent.  I got ready to go to synagogue.  I didn't call down to my son.  I learned my lesson.   the kids didn't come up for their morning hot chocolate.  my son came up around 9:00 a.m. and made two cups of coffee to take downstairs.

I guess the daughter-in-law was still mad.  I heard the front gate open and saw my son leaving for synagogue with my granddaughter.  I asked if my grandson wanted to go to synagogue and was told to ask the daughter-in-law.  I called down to ask her if my grandson wanted to go with me to shul.  on this holiday everyone, traditionally, goes to hear the reading of the ten commandments.  she asked him if he wanted to go and she got him dressed.  a moment later he came upstairs and told me that he couldn't go with me.  he had to go with his mother.

I thought he misunderstood so I asked her if he could go with me.  I heard her ask him if he wanted to go with his grandmother or wait for her to get dressed.  he wanted to go with me.  I heard her yell something, like, 'you have a mother'.  he started crying and she let him go with me.  what a witch to play head games with a 6 year old!  she decided not to go.  the women in her family, traditionally do not go to synagogue.

the kids didn't even want to go inside the synagogue.  they were happy running around outside.  after services my son ran home with the kids.  I walked home alone.  how lovely!  I dreaded the meal.  I didn't know how it would go with the daughter-in-law.  I had invited my married friends to join me for cheesecake and lasagna after services.  I wanted to go to their house and cancel.  I also didn't have any veggies to make a salad.  I had wanted to shop on Friday but the kids didn't want to go with me to the supermarket.  I knew I'd  hear something from my son.  I told him to open some can goods.  I didn't care at that point what they ate.  I had had my fill of pleasing them. 

the lasagna took longer to heat than I had anticipated.  of course, I felt inferior.  I left to go back to synagogue to say a prayer for my deceased parents.  I told my friend to take over and serve the lasagna.  when I got home the kids were downstairs in the pool, after having lasagna and my friends were there being served by my friend.  my friends left and I went downstairs to watch the kids in the pool.  I made peace with my daughter-in-law.  my son drank beer until he passed out.

I offered to take the kids to a synagogue to hear the ten commandments with a lot of kids at 5:00 p.m.  we then went to a playground for a while.  we came home and I made omelets for everyone.  the big kids eventually came up for coffee and cheesecake and the world was at peace again.  they both agreed it was a great holiday.

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