Daily Archives: April 21, 2010

It’s just a box, just some broken glass

On my declutterfication kick today, I was going through the breakfront. I came across this little box from the olivewood factory. It has a picture of Jerusalem inked across the top. Within, you will find the broken glass from my first Chuppah. I remember my uncle, soon after my ex stomped on the glass, whisk away the broken pieces, wrap them up in a napkin and disappear with them. A few months later, he presented us with this box. The fabric of that marriage shattered just like this glass, yet this box still resides in my breakfront.

I have a new broken glass to put in a fancy box. It is time for me to say goodbye to this vestige of what was. It’s just weird how I haven’t thought of that brief moment of time in so long, and I can still feel the warmth of my uncle’s wink at me as he bent to pick up those pieces.

It’s just amazing the things we hold on to.

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How Many Do You Really Need?

So I am having a very productive day of decluttering. It’s extremely cleansing in some ways, but in others – well, it makes you wonder how you can get attached just to a thing?!

Anyhow, we have approximately 100 benschers (booklets for Grace After Meals) in our collection. (plus 75 or so that somehow did not get given out at one of the barmitzvahs). Some of the marriages commemorated on these benschers have ended in divorce. Some of the barmitzvah boys are fathers themselves, some of these people I don’t even remember.

How many does one really need? And if I choose to get rid of the rest – do I put them in sheimas, or will there be a community organization that would be glad to have them?

How many do you have?

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Wednesday’s Wacky Signs

(sorry it’s a bit late….totally forgot!!)

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You cannot possibly know

Unfortunately I have several friends going through divorce right now. It’s heartbreaking, whatever the circumstances, even when it is for the best. My divorce was a few years ago. It was rough and tough, and there were times that I wondered if I would survive the whole process. It’s mentally and physically and emotionally draining. My family and friends and my kids pulled me through. A minute at a time, a day at a time. Hell doesn’t even begin to cover it.

So when I was called recently for the phone number of my awesome divorce lawyer (something that happens all too often) I was surprised by the person on the other end. They were calling for a friend. She wanted to sound me out on what I thought might happen in this person’s divorce, like going through one divorce makes me an expert?! And then she says “well, not everyone can have as smooth a divorce as you and your ex had.” Say what?

Apparently, if you manage to put your issues with your ex behind you, and move on like grown ups and put the kids first, and be civil and cordial with each other, it means your divorce was less contentious, and easy and smooth. Ha! “Obviously you didn’t have any major issues to deal with otherwise you guys wouldn’t be talking to each other today”. Hmm, the fact that we have four kids together has nothing to do with it? The fact that these four kids need to know they have two parents who both love them to distraction – and are prepared to bury the hatchet for their sake – means that the hell we went through was nothing?

How dare she judge? Because I didn’t blab about the details to all and sundry that minimizes my experience? Because we were both able to get remarried – it means we didn’t suffer? We both did, believe me.

I ended up challenging her. I said “you don’t know what goes on behind closed doors, until you have been in my shoes you cannot possibly know what I went through. How dare you minimize my experience?” – She tried to explain herself. “You made barmitzvahs together, you had him over to your house for birthday parties, you speak to each other when you bump into each other in public……everyone knows you guys are friends. How can you be friends if you went through hell? Besides, he IS letting you take the kids to NY…..” (yeah, she went there)

I explained that we are not friends, we just make an effort to get along for the sake of the children. And we have moved on. Neither of us wants to live in the past. We have new spouses, and new lives. We have acted like mature adults. Apparently that means I cannot really understand someone who is going through a difficult divorce. I cannot empathize. I cannot advise. Because me and my ex are civil to each other.

I have hakoras hatov (appreciation, gratitude) toward my ex. I do. It took effort from both of us to let go of the pain and anger etc. We would not have a civil relationship if either of us was not willing to make it happen. It requires work on both sides. But instead of getting applauded for that by this woman, I was judged and it bothers me. It shouldn’t.

Why can’t people just keep their opinions to themselves?

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Rub a Dub Dub, Thanks for the Grub….

It’s a funny little line, but at bensching time growing up when we were amongst friends, we would jokingly say “Rub a dub dub, thanks for the grub, Yaaaaay God!” I am sure this falls way short of the grace after meals that we are supposed to say. It’s up there with making fun of the mezuman – “rubber tires never break” or “rub my thigh with a rake” – typically puerile stuff. My kids have tried it a time or two at the Shabbat table and gotten a lot of grief for it. It IS offensive AND inappropriate. Just because I said it in my not-so-misspent youth doesn’t make it right.

Lately I have been trying to improve myself, and instead of taking on something that I know I cannot keep to, I have decided to work on Brachot (blessings) and not using my mouth for foul language and Lashon Horah (evil speech, gossip).

My KoD is a wonderful inspiration on the Brachot front. I have never seen him bite into something or drink something without making the right bracha. It would never occur to him to forget. It is ingrained in him to thank God for everything he eats and drinks. I am an FFB (frum from birth) and have had brachot said around me forever. Yet, somehow, it does not occur to me a lot of the time. I wonder why this is. I will remind the boys to wash for bread, and bensch after. I will remind them to make all their brachot and when they come out of the bathroom I will nudge the little one to say that special bracha. But when it comes to me, I constantly forget. I am trying so hard to remember, and to be mindful. I find if I am mindful of everything I am doing, I am more likely to make a bracha. But sometimes in our helter skelter oh-so-busy lives, we shovel food in on the go, and do not stop to think.

How can I get myself to remember all the time? I asked the KoD how he does it. After all he is not an FFB and as an adult he had to train himself at some point. He told me that he doesn’t perceive it as a choice. You want to eat – you have to thank God first. It’s that simple. (Trust a man to be so logical!!) Sometimes I am not even sure which bracha I am supposed to say – but the kids seem to be knowledgeable on that front, and if not the KoD for sure knows.

So, do you have any tips and pointers for me?

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