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Playing the Name Game



Yesterday at the bris of  our grandson, after the mohel performed the ritual circumcision, we heard the name  announced.

The naming of Jewish babies is performed at the bris which is on the 8th day of the baby’s life.

Our son and dil named their child after my father-in-law.

One of the first decisions parents make when they have a child is the name. For each of our children, we made that decision, and now it was our own children’s turns. The parents decide what to name the child, put it on the birth certificate and keep it secret ( barring some leaking and hinting) from everyone else until the naming at the Bris.

But throughout that time, there is sometimes  a temptation for the grandparents (that would be me!) , i.e. the  parents of the adult children (me again!!)  to drop hints with opinions about what they think the name should be. Ahem! Obviously, this kind of commenting can add to the tension that is already in place when a new baby is born.

Me, I may have a big mouth regarding many topics, but regarding in-laws and names, I have to say I’m  pretty cool about it.  My motto has been for the past seven years since I became a Grandmother (can’t believe my oldest grandson is already in 2nd grade!)  and mother-in-law (to 3 wonderful young ladies)  is to refrain from interfering – especially regarding names (and plenty other things too!)


Truthfully, I believe that it is really none of my business to mix in to this decision. That’s one fo the many things I talk about on my blog and on my in-law website. I also discuss in-law relationship topics in my Grandmother book, which was published two years ago.  This kind of self-control is  all part and parcel of dealing with children-in-law in a positive manner.

So when our children had another baby boy last week, I tossed aside my expectations.

In our Jewish tradition, we often name after a family members. While Sephardic families name after the living, we, as Ashkenazik Jews have the custom of naming after the deceased.

Some background:

You see, my husband’s father had passed away almost 14 years ago, and none of our 4 other grandsons, ages 2 through 7 – has his name. One of my daughters’in-law’s own father has the same name as my father-in-law, so they consider it superstitious to use a name when her own father is still alive and well. And my other daughter-in-law named her first two children after her own grandfather and father, who recently died.

Come on, it’s been 14 years. I wanted my husband to have the pleasure of a little guy named for his father.

And at the rate we were going with boys in our family, I figured the next one will get my father’s name. So I could see both sides of the coin. On the one hand, it would be nice to have the little guy named after my dad. But on the other hand, I could understand the need to honor my father-in-law’s name.

So…when they named the baby today and called out his name, I thought:  How apropos!


All we want is Shalom - Peace!

All we want is Shalom – Peace!


Me? The one who preaches about being a nice mother-in-law? No way.  I understood. To me, the peace and love in a family that understands and respects the adult children’s decisions is more importatnt than what name is chosen.

I consider myself blessed to have children who thought things through  about what would be the most correct thing to do. They wanted to do something that would provide me comfort soon after my father’s passing, but yet they wanted to honor my father-in-law’s memory as well.

In the end, they chose well.

They chose the name that was meaningful for my mother-in-law who is still going strong at 94, and for my mother, who gave her blessing to them to do what they felt comfortable doing. (as my mom said, “My husband was one to give in to others, so it’s fitting that this was the choice…”)

I only hope the peace in our family will spread to peace in the world. We REALLY  need it.

Photos – courtesy of

Barbecues and Bicycles

Our family had a barbecue tonight in our backyard.  It was probably one of the easiest backyard barbeques I’ve had in a long time.

I did nothing. My husband did nothing.  The entire event was planned and arranged by our sons and their wives.  This is how it came about. At around 11 am this morning my son called me.

“Hi Ma, I want to make a barbecue in your house tonight. Can I do that?”

“Sure, as long as you do it all, because I don’t have the energy these days.”

Reason for no energy, some of you may know, is because I’m still recovering from a broken ankle, and besides the getting around being difficult, I’m kind of lazy in the domestic department. Writing blogs, poetry, music and social media are more appealing to me today.

So back to the barbecue. After a short outing that my husband and I took to a local ice cream parlor this afternoon, we went home, and I took a short nap.

I woke up an hour or so later to pleasant sounds of the children (my grandsons) playing in the backyard. Sounds of splashing water in the pool, riding bikes, and generally having fun. I waited awhile and just relished my privacy and quiet in the room.

After some time, I got out of bed, scooted around to the backyard, and saw some sitting around the table eating, and the kids were riding bikes around the pavement.

Grandma and kids on wheels

Grandma and kids on wheels

“Hi, Ma,” called out my middle son who was flipping burgers at the barbecue grill.

“Hi, Omi,” shouted my 3-year old grandson, who was riding his tricycle around and saying, “look, no hands, look! look!”

“Here, sit down,” said my husband, as he pulled over a chair near the table. “Mommy needs a burger,” he said to my son.

I looked around, and saw everything. The family around the table eating the delicious hot food on a Sunday night, but I saw more than that.

Mixed feelings here. I’m not myself. I’m used to being in the middle of everything, and here I’m in the background. It’s temporary. Soon I will be in the thick of plans again….all in good time.

In the meantime, it’s a relief  to have the adult kids running and arranging things!

How many of you can relate to this feeling of things going on around you and you’re merely in the background? How do you cope and deal with these feelings? Share below…

Have a fantastic rest of the summer, everyone. Enjoy your families!

Why Our Adult Children Back Off Sometimes

Sometimes I smother…and hover over my children. It wouldn’t be such a problem, if my children were 10 or 11.


But they’re not.

In fact, my children are all adults, and as much as I tend to forget it, quite capable ones too.

When I smother my adult children with too much advice and input, they tend to back off and share less. Continue reading

I’m Not Telling!

A few weeks ago, I took my grandson to visit someone, and the person asked him the typical questions that one asks a 4 year old: Who is your teacher? What is your favorite color? How old are you? etc.

Nothing unusual about the conversation; in fact it was a very charming conversation, one that both child and adult (and those watching) enjoyed.

Until my grandson decided to cut the interview short. His response to one particular question (a question which I don’t remember specifically), was “I’m not telling.”

That was it. Case closed. Dialogue ended. He didn’t want to “tell.” Was it a secret? Maybe, maybe not. But as far as he was concerned, the conversation was over. He wasn’t telling. Okay?

I have  a hard time saying the above words; I tend to be very open and honest. Someone could ask me a question that I find  inappropriate, but before I give myself a chance to process the question as “rude,” “NTB” (not their business), or just plain worthy of not answering, I blurt out something that satisfies them.

And later I regret it. Usually the question is not necessarily a personal one . In fact, it could be a very innocent question, but still one that produces that uncomfortable feeling in my stomach, signalling to me to keep quiet, and to change the subject.

And often, I don’t heed that signal.

Recently, I had a more satisfying experience with this issue; an acquaintance asked me a question regarding one of my  children. The truth was I didn’t even know the answer. All of my children are adults and make their own decisions about certain matters.  I tried telling the person that I don’t know the answer. But the person would not relent. I tried changing the subject. Didn’t work.

And then it hit me to say the following:

“Hey, good question – why don’t you ask him?” (referring to my son).

That worked. My questioner backed off. (Whew). She wasn’t interested in calling my son up and getting her answer. She just wanted to discuss it with me. And I was not interested in going there.

I guess I’m getting better at following the lessons of my grandson – I am learning to convey in one way or another that although I may be an open person to some extent, there is a limit (I hope!)

Whether I use what I heard termed as “non-talk” (basically information that doesn’t really answer the question, but is nevertheless polite), or whether I use simply the phrase, “Hey, I’m not comfortable talking about that,” discretion is always a good thing.

Just because I am part of what is called the “sandwich generation” – does not mean I have to be privy to every detail of the people around me. Thankfully, I am (usually!) aware of that.

I guess there is nothing more to say on this post. Shhhhhhh.

Sandwich Support

People my age — the sandwich generation –may be wrapped up in any number of ways.

“I feel like a flat, pasty piece of grilled cheese, all squeezed between two slices of bread,” said a good friend of mine to me the other day.

I sensed the pain in her voice as she used that metaphor. She is a daughter of elderly parents and a mom of many adult children who need her. She’s pulled (and pushed) in different directions and it hurts.

She felt quite stressed, and needs support during this frustrating period of life, and so do I. Continue reading

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