web analytics
April 24, 2014 / 24 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities

By:
Chronicles-logo

Share Button

Mother-in-Law in a bind… or is she?

Dear Rachel,

I need sympathy and you sound like the type of person who would understand where I’m coming from. Here we are, finally at the stage where our kids are all grown, baruch Hashem, and raising families of their own, and we can sit back and enjoy the fruits of our labor. Okay, sit back may not be totally accurate since my husband and I are both still working in order to be able to maintain our standard of living.

Please don’t get me wrong; we are far from well to do (we don’t even own our own home), but we are not the couch-potato type and are grateful to have the ability to lead active lives. The extra cash my job brings in also makes it easier for me to spoil my grandchildren — one of life’s little joys. Until recently, that is…

Two of our granddaughters were having birthdays just weeks apart. Our son and his family live quite a distance away, but with that being a surmountable issue, I happily shopped on my lunch break for some nice gifts for the two girls. (A younger sib had been the recipient of my generosity just a couple of months earlier when he had his Chumash party, and the baby’s birthday was still several months away.)

I gave the wrapped-up gifts to a co-worker who happens to live in their vicinity, and I phoned my son to let him know that my co-worker would be in touch with them. As for me, I could hardly wait for the girls to see what I bought them and could just picture their reaction.

My enthusiasm was short-lived — when my son called me later that day to ask if the gifts were only for his daughters and to let me know that my gesture wasn’t sitting well with his wife. My daughter-in-law, he went on to explain somewhat awkwardly, felt that it was not right to exclude the other children.

I pointed out that the girls were celebrating birthdays and reminded him of the occasions when their other children had been the recipients of my big heart, but I may as well have talked to myself. The bottom line, apparently set by his wife, was gifts for all or for none. Period.

I was floored, to put it mildly, but the last thing I wanted was to get between my son and daughter-in-law, so I just let it go. My husband had no qualms about the solution: Return the gifts for a cash refund and forget about it.

I did exactly that, and there’s been no mention of the incident since.

Here comes graduation and I can’t ignore it, Rachel. How should I handle this?

What’s up with daughters-in law?

Dear What’s Up,

Nothing new. It’s ages old, well known and documented — there’s just something there (between a mother-in-law and daughter-in-law). That’s not to say that there aren’t any who get along famously, but generally speaking, it is not an easy relationship. Even the Gemara concurs and sums up the friction as rooted in a mother-in-law’s resentment at seeing all that she has entrusted to her son bestowed on his wife. The daughter-in-law senses the vibes her husband’s mother gives off and reciprocates in kind. One’s heart reflecting the other’s heart…

Your letter makes no reference to past contentions between the two of you that might have precipitated this incident. Regardless, let’s keep in mind that daughters-in-law are as entitled to their moods as the rest of us overworked and underappreciated women.

Still, this is no reason for you to “ignore” upcoming graduations and other occasions you wish to acknowledge. One resolution that works for many grandparents, for a myriad of practical reasons, is to let your grandchildren choose their own gifts — with the money you give them, or with gift certificates they are bound to appreciate.

Come graduation, hand it to the graduate, preferably in a card that can contain a personal message from bubby. If you can’t make it there, put the card (with check or gift certificate enclosed) in the mail — you know, the old-fashioned kind that requires a stamp on the envelope and address in longhand.

Same for birthdays. Monetary gifts of chai ($18), double or triple (according to your means) will save you the hassle of endless shopping and wondering whether your choice of gift was appropriate. Needless to say, playing favorites is not a good idea, especially where you’re concerned. Just be consistent and you’ll be surprised at how thrilled children are to have money of their own, which they can choose to spend or save up, sometimes toward a more costly item they’ve set their sights on.

Your inner longing to confer gifts upon the einiklach can be satisfied in subtle ways, without formality or gift-wrap. Stock up, for instance, on children’s books suited to different age groups. (Publishing outlets such as ArtScroll and Feldheim run sales events several times a year.) Then when the grandkids visit, they can enjoy the reading material on the spot, and when they leave they can take a book home with them — at bubby’s suggestion, of course.

This will surely not ruffle any feathers, and you will have the additional satisfaction of knowing you are contributing to your grandchildren’s library, education and reading skills.

Not pressuring your son to see it your way was a good move on your part. You swallowed your pride for the sake of peace and harmony in the family — always a good choice. Kol hakavod!

Share Button

About the Author: We encourage women and men of all ages to send in their personal stories via email to rachel@jewishpress.com or by mail to Rachel/Chronicles, c/o The Jewish Press, 4915 16th Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11204. If you wish to make a contribution and help agunot, your tax-deductible donation should be sent to The Jewish Press Foundation. Please make sure to specify that it is to help agunot, as the foundation supports many worthwhile causes.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

No Responses to “Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Border Police take charge of  Yitzhar's Od Yosef Chai Yeshiva while students are on vacation.
Brave Israel Police Stand Guard at Empty Yeshiva to Stop Violence
Latest Sections Stories
Schonfeld-logo1

Regardless of age, parents play an important role in their children’s lives.

Marriage-Relationship-logo

We peel away one layer after the next, our eyes tear up and it becomes harder and harder to see as we get closer to our innermost insecurities and fears.

Gorsky-041814-Torah

Some Mountain Jews believe they are descendents of the Ten Lost Tribes and were exiled to Azerbaijan and Dagestan by Sancheriv.

Yom Tov is about spending time with your family. And while for some families the big once-in-a-lifetime experience is great, for others something low key is the way to go.

A fascinating glimpse into the rich complexity of medieval Jewish life and its contemporary relevance had intriguingly emerged.

Dear Dr. Yael:

My heart is breaking; my husband’s friend has gotten divorced. While this type of situation is always sad, here I do believe it could have been avoided.

The plan’s goal is to provide supportive housing to 200 individuals with disabilities by the year 2020.

Despite being one of the fastest-growing Jewish communities in the U.S. – the estimated Jewish population is 70-80,000 – Las Vegas has long been overlooked by much of the Torah world.

She was followed by the shadows of the Six Million, by the ever so subtle awareness of their vanished presence.

Pesach is so liberating (if you excuse the expression). It’s the only time I can eat anywhere in the house, guilt free! Matzah in bed!

Now all the pain, fear and struggle were over and they were home. Yuli was safe and free, a hero returned to his land and people.

While it would seem from his question that he is being chuzpadik and dismissive, I wonder if its possible, if just maybe, he is a struggling, confused neshama who actually wants to come back to the fold.

I agree with the letter writer that a shadchan should respectfully and graciously accept a negative response to a shidduch offer.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/chronicles-of-crises/chronicles-of-crises-in-our-communities-139/2012/05/17/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: