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Learning Curve: Chapter 20

Gila Arnold

Yael hadn’t felt this relaxed in ages. It had been way too long since they’d come to her parents for Shabbos

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Y ael leaned back in the well-worn dining room chair, soaking in the Shabbos atmosphere of her parents’ home. She hadn’t felt this relaxed in ages. It had been way too long since they’d come for Shabbos. That realization had hit her earlier this week, when she and Suri had spoken to her father. It was so nice to hear his wise, reassuring voice! When she’d returned home, Ephraim mentioned that his parents had asked about their Shabbos plans. They hadn’t been to them for a Shabbos in a while, he said. And suddenly, she’d snapped. A while? They were there at least once a month for the Melaveh Malkahs, and usually more than that. How much did his parents want? Whereas her family… she couldn’t remember the last time they’d been there. ">

People had warned her about this. When she first got engaged, friends half-jokingly told her that when you marry into a rich family, they expect more than their share of face time in exchange for more than their share of support. Yael had dismissed this; she was so close to her family! Besides, everyone knew that it was the girl’s family that got to spend the most time with grandchildren. And yet, somehow, her friends’ warnings had borne out. Partly because coming to her parents meant squeezing their family into a cramped room, and displacing some of her siblings. And partially because she felt bad putting the burden of hosting them on her mother, who worked full-time and then some. Whereas her mother-in-law had a live-in housekeeper and a whole wing of the house to offer their family. ">

Still, when Ephraim had relayed the invitation, she’d put her foot down and insisted it was high time they visited her family for a change. Now, Yael closed her eyes for a moment, basking in the lively chatter among her siblings, at her sisters fawning over Sruli and Simi, at the way Ephraim slid so easily into the lomdus being discussed by her father and brothers. She glanced over at him, and saw the enjoyment on his face. He, too, was glad to be here, she realized. ">

Why was she so surprised? Back when they were engaged, he’d been delighted at marrying into her family. ">

“You don’t know how lucky you are,” he’d told her. “Growing up in such a special family. When your father walks in the door, there’s a certain atmosphere he carries along with him.”

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