The Celebrate Israel Festival on May 31 at Pier 94, slated to be the largest gathering to date of Israeli-Americans in New York.
Like my previous story of Irv and Chaya, Seymour and P’nina were both beginning second marriages and they too had grown children who were married and had children of their own. Seymour and his new wife also decided to pursue their lifelong dream of living in Israel and had decided to liquidate their possessions, leave their families and make aliyah. Seymour was a well spouse who had nursed his chronically ill wife for years before she died. His decision to follow his dreams at this point in his life upset his children. They too, like Irv’s family, began to feel abandoned by their father and concerned about this quick romance. They did not know their stepmother very well and felt she was taking him away from them.
Seymour, though not wealthy, was financially comfortable. He and his first wife had lived well. They had their own home, two cars, had always paid full tuition, took family vacations once a year and had even supported all their children through a few years of kollel (learning full time after marriage). Though all his children were now self-supporting, they were just beginning to have their own large families and finances were not as easy as they had hoped. They were not poor by any means. They were all well dressed, had domestic help periodically and there was never a shortage of food at the table. However, they had all dreamed of owning their own homes and now, that did not seem feasible.
When I was told about the children’s many concerns with the new marriage, one of the anxieties mentioned was that their mother had told each one privately that she would help them with the down payment on a house when they were ready to purchase one. They were all now concerned that, with their mother gone, would their father honor the pledge their mother had made? In fact, did he even know of it? What would having a stepmother and step-siblings mean for their future, financially and otherwise?
Second marriages bring with them all sorts of problems. Feelings of abandonment and favoritism arise in our children (just as they did in adolescence – when they felt that “you obviously, loved ‘his sister’ or ‘her brother’ more”). As the newly married couple decided with whom to spend the Yomim Tovim (holidays) this year, her family or his – negative feelings arose among the children. What if a simcha on both sides of the families occur in the same week or, G-d forbid, on the same day? How would the parents handle it?
Our children seem to have a short memory and forget that only a few years ago, when they were newly married, they too were making these same decisions of choosing between parents and in-laws. Forgetting the difficulty and pain any controversy or ill feelings their decisions made back then, they now inflict their desires on the newly married couple, to have the parents at their table.
But the financial issue is often the hardest. Whose money is it anyway? Aren’t the parents entitled to spend the money they worked for as they see fit? Why shouldn’t Seymour shower P’nina with gifts and make a good life for themselves in their golden years? Wasn’t raising their children, educating them and supporting them until they got on their feet, enough? Does Seymour still need to put his children’s needs and desires ahead of his own?
But what of the promises made? Most young adults today cannot afford to buy a home without their parents’ help with the down payment. Haven’t we told our children and shown them repeatedly, that they can rely on us? But now, there may not be enough money for both. Seymour may have to decide between his dreams and those of his children. How will he decide? Is there a right way to deal with this?
Seymour and P’nina welcome your ideas and experience. If you have been in their situation and have worked it out successfully with your children; or if you’d like to air your comments about this difficult but all too common situation Please write me at firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Author:
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
When I complain, she tells me it is retail therapy.
Tal Dimenstein has been selected to present her ELI Talk about Appreciation during this year’s conference in Chicago.
Birobidzhan railway station sign is the world’s only one spelling the town’s name in Yiddish letters
She’s seen as a poster child for The Jewish Home’s efforts to reach beyond its Orthodox base.
Girls don’t usually learn Gemara. Everyone knows that.
Mordechai and his men shared a strong mutual loyalty.
“Can I wear tefillin in the bathroom?” That was the question US Private Nuchim Lebensohn wrote to Mike Tress, president of the Agudath Israel Youth Council, in a letter dated November 18, 1942. Lebensohn was not your typical young American GI. Polish by birth, he was forty-three years old and married when he was drafted […]
To what extent is your child displaying defiance?
This therapist kept focusing on how “I could do better,” never on how we could make the marriage work.
Mistrust that has lingered after the fiasco in Ferguson, Missouri, has edged the issue forward.
When one is blind one learns to use Braille to read. When one cannot walk, a wheelchair gives mobility. Sign language allows a mute person to speak and ocular implants assist in hearing when one is deaf. These are all compensatory strategies that help a person function despite his disability. But compensatory strategies are not just for physical problems. Understanding our psychological weaknesses and setting up our lives to ensure that we are not tempted to repeat our past mistakes, is as necessary as any aid to the disabled.
Well spouses have often discovered that their friends and relatives, despite their closeness to the situation, often don’t realize the tremendous emotional impact living with chronic illness has on the family. With the best intentions, suggestions, ideas and criticism are offered, based on the non-experience of those with healthy families. Even when the good intentioned get a taste of the difficulties, it is sometimes not enough for them to then identify and understand what the family of the chronically ill must face on a constant basis.
Over the past two weeks I have shared letters from a therapist and a well spouse. Both of the letters gave personal insights into the process of losing hope, how we react when that happens and some ways of coping when test scores, diagnosis and just simple repetitive behavior indicate that change for the better is impossible.
I’ve read your last few articles on psycho-neurological testing (Oct.8-22) with interest. As a therapist who has counseled couples dealing with chronic illness, I’d like to give you another perspective.
Your articles on the Neuro-Psychological Testing were right on (October 8-22). My husband underwent testing twice and your articles explained it things exactly the way they were. Besides the test, we also tried therapy.
Very often when we can’t face our big hurts or big loses we focus on the little ones. We can discuss those. We can cry over the small loses, be angry at the smaller hurts even though it may look trite and sound ridiculous to others.
Over the last two weeks we have been discussing one way in which well spouses can determine whether behavior displayed by their ill partners is caused by their illness or is a way they have chosen to act. We have focused on Psycho-Neurological testing, what it can tell us, as well as its pros and cons.
Last week I discussed a question that haunts many well spouses: not knowing if the difficult and often inappropriate behavior frequently displayed by their partners are caused by the disease and therefore not-controllable, or if the behavior is a choice the spouse makes and can therefore be changed. This doubt can be the source of much frustration and many marital disagreements. One way of alleviating this doubt is by having a psycho- neurological work up done. But that path is not so simple.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/pursuing-your-dreams-the-money-issue-and-other-problems/2006/07/05/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online: