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May 3, 2015 / 14 Iyar, 5775
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Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities

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Of Brides, Marriages, and Babies

Just throw me a kiss!

Dear Rachel,

At the risk of sounding vain and coming across self-absorbed, I’d like to address my close friends through your column, if I may…

We’ve shared laughter and many good times together and hugged and kissed on many occasions.

As I prepare for my big day, I am trying on gowns, wigs and tiaras, going for wardrobe fittings, and sitting for professional make-up tryouts. After all, which kallah does not want to look her very best at the event of her lifetime – her wedding?

I can’t count how many times I’ve seen girls hugging a kallah to within an inch of her life (it literally gets hard to breathe) without any regard to the fact that the kallah’s veil is being crushed and sometimes nearly ripped from her head.

I realize you are emotionally overwhelmed… but really, you’ve already expressed your feelings, remember? Back when you came to the le’chaim and my vort. As they say, been there and done that. Believe me, I know you’re happy for me, but trust me when I say it’s really OK not to get all mushy on me.

That is not to say that I don’t appreciate our friendship. Honestly, I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it wasn’t for loyal and understanding friends like you.

Please understand that this is my day to shine, my time to be a malka, a queen. As it is, I’ll be keeping my own emotions in check. But you can bet I’ll work hard on remaining poised and regal throughout.

If you’ve been in my shoes, I know you get the picture. If you haven’t, please forgive my vanity this one time and know that I’ll be praying for your day to shine to arrive very soon.

Your friend, the Kallah

 

Discontent no more…

Dear Rachel,

I waited years to be married and would have resigned myself to being an old maid if it wasn’t for my optimism, my emunah and my good friends who kept me afloat.

At long last, we met. Though we knew we loved one another’s company and were able to carry on endless telephone chats, we wanted to be sure. At our age (close to forty) we learn to tread warily.

Finally he surprised me by taking me to buy an engagement ring. (He knew enough to let me choose my own.)

Our wedding went off like a dream. We were delirious with joy. And then real life set in. Our small, starter apartment didn’t seem big enough for the two of us. He took forever showering and left the bathroom all steamed up for me. His clothes were all over the place and strands of his hair cluttered the sink drain. Making himself coffee meant sticky countertops and the milk container left sitting out on the kitchen table.

If you haven’t guessed it by now, I’ve always prided myself on being neat and am a firm believer in everything in its place. So by the time we’d retire for the night, I’d be exhausted from sheer aggravation, let alone picking up after him.

Then one day I had an eye-opening visit with a close friend. It didn’t take long for me to confide in her and for her to set me straight. She made me see that I was suffocating my husband with my petty demands and could just as easily be showing him lovingly and patiently how to please me. And if he didn’t hear me saying, “Honey, do you know what purpose the bathroom fan serves?” – I could always turn it on myself.

My friend warned me that my sourpuss attitude and nitpicking could end up making my husband feel inadequate and would take a toll on our relationship. And besides, what did I expect of a man who’d been living on his own for quite some time and was used to doing his own thing.

I took her words to heart and it worked like a charm. Since I can’t be the only “older” bride to experience this type of frustration (the later we marry, the more set in our ways we tend to be), I am writing to alert others to not allow the little things to get in the way of a happy and satisfying marriage.

 

Lesson to live by…

Counting sheep instead of sleepless hours…

Dear Rachel,

As a young mother of three children under four, all of whom thank G-d sleep through the night, I don’t understand mothers who jump awake at the slightest sound their babies make and are ready to feed them at all hours of the night. And they’re always telling me how lucky I am to have “good kids.”

Well, if you ask me, it really has little to do with luck. New mothers need to learn to keep their infants out of the master bedroom after about four weeks of age. (A baby monitor can alert mothers to their crying babies in another room.) Chances are they’ll fuss a little and then fall right back asleep, unless you run to feed them at their first kvetch – which mothers are more apt to do when their babies are near at hand.

Most people fail to realize that sleep is even more important for a baby’s wellbeing than food, not to mention that a well-rested mother can more easily cope with baby’s demands than an exhausted one. So mothers, do yourselves and your kids a favor: don’t delay placing your little ones in their own room and you’ll see how fast they will learn that nights are for sleeping, not for feeding.

There’s no reason that a 4 to 6 week old baby shouldn’t be sleeping for a stretch of at least six nighttime hours (12am to 6am) and a 3-month old for 10 to 12 hours (6pm to 6am, or 7pm to 7am).

 

Always worked for me!

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.


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