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Shviggers Talk

Esther Sender

Your child is no longer the child that you knew and raised. He or she is now half of a couple. A new creation that has to meld and bond. So where does this leave you? A collection of shvigger experiences — before and after these women resolved to make a dramatic shift in perspective.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

This was our first child to get married. As soon as they got engaged, we were in a race against time and money. How were we, a kollel family, going to marry off a daughter to a boy from a wealthy family?

He had normal expectations. A gold watch, a set of Shas, a silver menorah, and an esrog box.

My husband wears a Timex watch, has a silver-plated menorah, and a faux leather esrog box.

I owned two candlesticks, a candelabra I’d bought with a small inheritance from my grandmother, and a white-gold bracelet. I sold them all to buy our new son-in-law the things everyone else in his stratosphere was used to receiving. Everyone told me, “You’re crazy!” But I felt this was the way to build the relationship with our new son-in-law to-be. We did not want him to feel less than others, or that he was getting less.

In retrospect … Well, let’s get to the story, and then we can talk about retrospect.

What happened soon after the wedding was that our daughter and son-in-law started popping in for surprise visits.

At first, we were all on our best behavior to greet the new couple, but as time went on and their visits lasted longer and longer, especially at bedtime when I was trying to put a houseful of little children to sleep. My demeanor became less aristocratic, and the food service definitely slowed down. Even after several attempts at explaining to my daughter that after 8 p.m. isn’t a good time to visit, they didn’t stop.

One night they popped over at 9 p.m., hungry after a long day out. And truthfully I’d kind of had it, what with the late visits and the constant cooking for them, so I didn’t give them royal service or say goodbye in the most perfect tone.

And that made my son-in-law snap.

I’m sure there were a few other things along the way but after this visit they decided it wasn’t healthy to visit anymore or even to talk to us.

I’ll tell you the truth — I wanted to sneak into their apartment and take back that menorah, Shas, watch, and esrog box.


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