Dear Mrs. Bluth,
I am writing to you about an issue you have addressed in the past, but ask if you can address it again, as it is something that is tearing our family apart. I am hoping that the individuals most affected can see their way clear to step back.
Our daughter recently gave birth to a baby boy after seven girls; her youngest is ten. As you can imagine, this should be of great joy and excitement, unfortunately, it is not! This baby was a complete surprise as my daughter had assumed her childbearing years were over. When she found out, she called her eldest daughter who is married and is herself the mother of two, to share the news. Instead of joy and excitement, what she got as a response was mortification – she herself was expecting her third child and had not shared the news yet.
My daughter called me weeping that her own child coldly accused her of stealing her thunder when she has yet to make her own birth announcement. Honestly, I didn’t know whether to jump for joy or cry for her pain. What a bracha this is, I told her; don’t dwell on the foolishness of what others may think, even though it may come from your own children. This new little one, I continued saying, will be a brocha and a nechama to the entire family. This made her feel somewhat better. Sadly, the relationship between my daughter and my granddaughter is quite cool.
Two months before my daughter gave birth, her father-in-law passed away. Everyone held out hope that this eldest granddaughter would have a boy to name after this grandfather, as my daughter was certain she was having another girl. As luck would have it the reverse was true and when this little boy was born, my son-in-law was overjoyed that he would have the zechus to name his child after his father.
Yet, instead of being thrilled that her mother had finally given birth to a much longed-for son, this granddaughter was distressed that, once again, her mother had cheated her out of a kavod.
The simcha at the bris was dampened by her sour disposition and she barely spoke to her mother, much less looked at her new little brother.
As luck would have it, two weeks later she gave birth to a little girl, which only served to make things worse. She has convinced herself that her mother is her competition and she has started to drop nasty remarks without thought of the pain she is causing her parents. It has gotten so bad that when she sees her mother in the street, she crosses over to the other side so as not to have to pass her. She will listen to no one, not her other sisters or close family members who have tried to intervene. It has gotten so bad that I fear for my daughter’s health. Please tell me what to do, as my heart bleeds for all involved.
How sad that people cannot see past their own feelings, especially when they are the very people we wish to share our happiness with. Blood relationship does not necessarily lend itself to wisdom or empathy; sometimes people can be so selfish and self-absorbed that even a mother is seen through the prism of “she took from me.” I have seen awful jealousy between mothers and daughters when the mother competes for youth and beauty. Then, I have seen question to the point of ridicule the mother’s sage advice or decision-making abilities.
Your situation, though, by far exceeds any boundaries of lucidity. I cannot, no matter how I look at it, come up with even one iota of validity for your granddaughters selfish and hateful actions towards her own mother, other than to think she has become hormonally challenged due to pregnancy and birth or it may well be that they did not enjoy that close a relationship to begin with and their joint gestation period only exacerbated a pre-existing condition. So I’ll get right to the point.
It seems that you are the one who will have to approach your granddaughter and inject some common sense. Try to remind her that it is HaKadosh Baruch Hu Who makes plans and has control over birth and gender. Impress upon her how much she is losing in the process and what destruction and misery she is inflicting on the entire family. Ask her why she carries such a grudge against her innocent baby brother, who is completely blameless, as well as punishing her own children by withholding them from seeing their grandmother and new uncle. I have a feeling you will find the right words. If all else fails, slip this column where she will find it. Hopefully she will understand the pain she has caused and write this wrong.
And please let us know how things turn out.