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They’re Just Married: A Mom’s Muse


A few days ago I received a text from my newly married couple. Two words: “We arrived.”

Those two words told me everything – they had arrived at their new apartment a week after the wedding and the ensuing celebrations. Although I would have liked just a bit of a longer text (2 words? Come on?), I understood that they were busy and needed to get on. School, work, life. They have things to do.

And there’s another piece here. After a couple gets married they need space from their parents in the first weeks of their marriage. Actually, the first year – known as “shanah rishonah” in Hebrew is a time for the new couple to bond.

The couple needs settling and so do we, the parents. Our family recently celebrated the wedding of our fourth son (mazel tov!) and it takes more than a few days (weeks?) for us as the parents to settle back into what was pre-couple normal. Things have been kind of hectic around here ever since these two individuals – our son and his lovely wife met each other over six months ago, dated, became an engaged couple, and then….the wedding a few weeks ago!

Fatigue, stress, anxiety and endless to-do lists. Those are only part of the equation of making a simcha. So yes, for the past three months we’ve been preparing a wedding which took a lot of emotional and physical preparation. Getting acquainted with a new family, dealing with many different people and accommodating many kinds of events brings out the best (hopefully not the worst!) in all of us. We were in constant contact with each other, communicating various plans via email, texts and phone calls.

The day after we returned from Cleveland where the wedding took place,  telltale signs of the simcha were visible.  Many who make these parties and events will relate; there were chairs that had to be returned, thank you cards to be written, fridge and freezer leftovers to be dealt with, and some empty suitcases still lying around.

But now, all that has been cleared away. The suitcases are back in storage, the chairs returned to their owners, most of the thank-you’s written, and my house has a semblance of order.

As we accept the always welcome Mazel Tov wishes from friends and acquaintances in the market, some of us are getting over the colds and viruses that we caught on the plane or from one another as we traveled. Stress of the excitement and pressure catches up to us and our immunities are lowered, bringing out those upper-respiratory infections in many of our family. Thank G-d for Z-Pac. It  works wonders (many thanks to Dr. U – my internist who found time for us in his schedule!).

And then – and then — we move on. The couple is settled into their new home and they are a separate couple. Besides for the occasional gift that comes to our house and gets placed in our upstairs guest room (for the next time they visit), we really have little day-to-day activities revolving around the wedding.

Yes, there are bills to be paid, work to be done (to pay those bills!) and more mazel tovs to be accepted. There are the pictures to choose from the photographer’s proofs, and copies to be made at Walgreens and Kinkos. It’s all a lot of fun and pleasant. These activities are what I’m supposed to be doing.

These activities of choosing and framing pictures, giving thank-you gifts to kind friends, and writing thank you notes to those whom I appreciate, are all appropriate social behaviors for mother of the groom to do post-wedding.

I enjoy these tasks. But I would be remiss if I didn’t at least acknowledge the void in my heart that I can’t just pick up the phone and call my son and daughter-in-law anymore. They are a new couple with their own life and my job is to give them that space. This is something I remind myself for each one of our kids as they grow and fly the coup.

I go back to work, visit my clients who I’ve neglected for the past few weeks, and spend time with my husband. I call my mother a little more often, my mother-in-law and sister-in-law too, and I spend more quality time chatting with my grandsons. Things are a bit more relaxed.

Still, the void is there. And that’s okay. That space in my heart where I was preoccupied with this son and his bride can be filled with hope and love and warmth and pride.  That excitement of planning and thinking about them is now redirected to moving forward in my own life and things that I enjoy doing for myself. (pictures of kids counts as doing for myself!).

As I write a list of “things to tell the new couple” when they call before Shabbos, I remind myself that this exact situation is what my husband and I have prayed for. We don’t want to hover and want our children to be on their own.

We don’t want to be picking up the phone every time something pops into our heads of what to tell them. This is the time to refrain from overwhelming. To sift, filter, and perhaps pick up that phone – only to put it back down again.

The good news? Shana Rishona is one year only. Not more. Okay – two weeks down. Fifty more to go. I can handle this.




5 Reasons Not to Be Hung Up on Being Hung Up on



If ever there was a loaded question, this one is it:

Are you the kind of mom-in-law or father-in-law who gets all bent out of shape if your married kids don’t (gasp) call you regularly? We all know the stereotypical conversation between Billy Crystal anyone who has a Jewish mom.

Mom: You never call me?

Son: Yes, I just called you the other day, Ma, you forgot.

Mom: The other day, the shmother day…that was ages ago, like weeks ago.

Here’s the thing. Calling one’s loved ones works both ways. Hey, if your children don’t call you, you call them.

You can’t? You don’t want to? Why not?

I’m not talking about disrespect here. I believe in respect. I believe that children and parents are not equals and we are supposed to show respect for our elders. The child should be taught from very young to love, honor and respect one’s elders.

But, sometimes it helps us if we realize that our children have lives that are extremely busy and we should try to initiate the phone call if they sometimes don’t get to it.

It helps if we don’t suddenly have amnesia and forget how busy we were back in the days when we had small children.

We’re not asking for a lot of empathy here, guys. Just a little.

And as in the conversation above, the topic of conversation became all about how upset the mom is, when they could  have jumped right into talking about pleasant stuff.

But still, there will be moms, and there will be moms-in-law, who will complain that their children are too busy and too (you fill in the blank here with adjective) to pick up the phone and to call their (fill in the blank here with adjective describing a victim) mother.

And so, I’ve decided to go out on a limb and suggest to that mom or mom-in-law several reasons that she may be wrong (gasp) and that maybe if she realizes these facts, she will be less likely to be upset about her son, daughter, grand-daughter, grandson, or any other loved one who doesn’t call enough.

1. Wanting them to call and expressing it to them myriad times, will only decrease their desire to call you, because they will associate calling you with negativity and complaining. So your best bet is to just be nice when they do call and not mention anything negative otherwise.

2. The fact that they don’t call you means that chances are great that they are spending their time doing good things with their lives. Now doesn’t that make you feel proud when your children and grandchildren are occupied with charitable causes? All their activities even provides you with more brag material for you and your own friends at the local Mah Jong club.

3. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. If they don’t see you for a long time, they will be even happier to see you, and just think, you can spend the time waiting by baking a good carrot cake and putting it in the freezer for when they come.

4. You have the option of calling them on their cell phone, or even contacting them via text or email. Even if you don’t use email or text, it may be worthwhile to learn it so you can stay in touch with your children and grandchildren, even if it’s just a “hi how are u?” or “I miss u” or whatever. Learn to meet them halfway, and you will always be happy.

5. You even have the option of becoming your grandson’s facebook friend, or your grand-daughter’s linkedin contact, or your son’s pinterest follower. Who knows? If you change your handle on Twitter, no one will know who you are, and your grandson may just contact you without much fuss.

There you have the 5 Reasons not to be hung up on being hung up on. And if you understand these reasons really deep in your heart, I guarantee you that you will earn the respect of your children, grandchidlren, and yourself.

How do you feel about this loaded topic? How do you stay in touch with your adult children without appearing whiny and overbearing to them? Let us know…

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