Caffeinated musings on my place within Judaism, feminism and community. Pontification on political and social topics. Definitely not decaf.

11 August 2006

Kosher Kona Coffee

Family vacations and family dynamics don't mix. Good thing there's good coffee to numb the pain.

Topics currently under consideration: how to be a Jew in paradise? Apparently paradise is somewhere west of Yiddenville. Although the local grocery store has a kosher section (a couple of jars of gefilte fish - in the land of nothing but fish, soup mix and Kedem grape juice) and the natural food store down the way has loads of hechsered stuff, it's not like one can wake up and wander to the closest shul. Makes for a long Shabbos. And, don't even get me started when um, more intimate halachic issues are involved.

But, those problems aside (sushi is great here and the Kona coffee keeps Tall Latte fully caffeinated), it's been a nice vacation. Well...except for...

  • DH's phone and email going constantly thanks to the ongoing problems at home - and a few new anti-Semetic incidents to keep him on his toes.
  • Sunburns, sun rash, and too much sun
  • Tons of research for my paper not getting done
  • Overtired kids
  • And the piece de resistance: family mishegas

This trip was to celebrate my parents' big anniversary. Rather than a party, they brought all the kids and grandkids to the tropics for a get-together. They rented a lovely house which accommodated everyone and they paid for the flights. Now, I get to pay for the therapy.

It’s tough when parents play favorites. It’s tough when it’s so obvious when they praise certain grandchildren and not others or all equally. It’s tough when they express appreciation for everything for some of their kids and in-laws and not others.

There’s something about hearing your spouse being criticized for working too much. “Why can’t he let someone else do it? Why can’t he unplug? Why is he always working?”

Um maybe because people are counting on him – the Jewish people are counting on him – and because he’s dedicated to what he does? Gee, a little praise for all that he’s doing rather than kvetching might be a start.

There’s something about hearing that one sibling is “more Jewish” so any questions have to be asked only of that one sibling. DH is wearing a hat to cover his head and that’s too affected. Other members of the family are wearing kippot – but that’s OK.

There’s something about hearing another grandchild referred to as “my special one” in front of your own child, who then turns to you and says, “I used to be the special one.” It breaks your heart.

So, what have I learned from this experience?
1. No more family vacations with the ganse mishpocha…the psychological damage is just too great for those in MY family – DH, kids and myself. I cannot allow my family to be subjected to passive aggressive BS, favoritism and constant criticism. This was supposed to be a fun family vacation not a gripe session.
2. Time vacations better to minimize personal halachic concerns…but then, I said this last year, too…
3. Enjoy paradise (snorkel gear, check; sunscreen, double check; aloe for the sunburn, triple check) but figure out how to balance the tropical life with the Torah life.


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