it is 10:00 p.m. in the holy city of zefat. I just got back from synagogue where we read the book of Lamentations. I say synagogue, but in actuality, it is just a bomb shelter. there are no fancy pews or stain glassed windows. we do have three such synagogues in the neighborhood, but I opted to go to the chabad service.
I cried my heart out. I couldn't see the words anymore. I wasn't seeing the destruction of the second temple in my mind. I was thinking of my grandchildren moving out of my house. I was thinking of how much I invested in this small family unit and about how much I lost. I was thinking of how futile life is. I was thinking of how will I survive. I was thinking about not seeing the kids anymore. I was thinking about being alone this year on the holidays.
the woman sitting next to me must have thought that I was a very righteous woman wailing away like this. in fact, I no longer think that I am a good woman at all. I think that I must be a very miserable harpy, bent on destroying the marriage of my only son. after all, I've been told enough times that my son is always in the middle between his wife and his mother. I must be a truly awful person for them to move out of the neighborhood completely, to a place that is not within walking distance.
I would like to believe that I am a person who fesses up when she messes up. I like to think that I am always trying to be a better in-law and mother and grandparent. but I guess I failed on all three. perhaps I did indulge the children. perhaps I gave them too much attention. maybe I smothered them. I don't know anymore. my son told me that it is better for me to only see them on limited visits. I guess I somehow damaged them.
I guess I should be happy that my son is looking out for my well being. I guess my daughter-in-law is also looking out for me and that is why she doesn't allow the children to come upstairs to my house anymore for more than a few minutes. they get how hard it has been for me to handle their kids for the past seven years. I am truly blessed to have such a wonderful son and daughter-in-law. too bad I couldn't have been there more for them. too bad I discouraged their fantasies, hopes and desires.
I feel like I'm in mourning. in a way it is a mourning process. seven years down the drain. I must be more positive. perhaps all the help I provided: free rent, Shabbat and holiday meals, and unlimited babysitting actually got them to a point where they are able to move out and take care of their kids now. I don't know what is real anymore. they do seem more cohesive and the kids do seem closer to their parents. they even make their own Shabbat meals now. so I guess it's all good.
I'm the loser. I'm the lonely one. I'm the broken one. I'm the pathetic woman who lives in a huge house all alone with her 2 dogs. shame on me. I get it. I have no life and these poor young kids had to put up with me all of these years. the poor little kids were never properly bathed and their clothes were covered with dog hair. the hallway was covered in dog pee and the dogs smelled bad. I forced them to come over every Friday for dinner when they would have been happier downstairs by themselves.
I couldn't speak Hebrew well and how I must have embarrassed them. I was always calling downstairs to them to ask if they were hungry. what was I thinking? I sometimes went downstairs to see the kids for a moment. how annoying I was. I especially overstepped my boundaries this summer when I went to the kindergarten to ask for information about alternative summer camps after the parents had already signed them up.
I must have seemed jealous of them. I resented their lifestyle because I had none. they took me out on my birthday to an expensive restaurant and I felt uncomfortable. I also felt uncomfortable whenever I was with them because they never talked to me. and it was always my fault. I didn't speak the language after being here for 33 years. and why should a young couple want to talk to an old woman? what could I say to them that was at all interesting.
I put on weight and wear the same clothes all the time. I'm not fashionable anymore. I let the gray hair grow in. I don't own any jewelry. I don't know how to drive. I don't use my cellphone. I don't own a smart phone. I don't work. I spend a lot of time in my house. I don't smile much. I seem very judgmental. I am always talking about dying. I have strange old English speaking friends. is there any wonder that they prefer that I don't care for the kids anymore? they were just being kind to me all these years letting me near their kids. what was I thinking for the past seven years?