My nephew recently celebrated his Bar Mitzvah. In the Jewish faith, this is a very important ritual that proclaims that the recipient becomes an adult. And all I can say is that he certainly behaved like an adult, unlike the behavior of two of his grandparents…
My Mother in Law and Father in Law are divorced for about fifteen years. It was an unhappy marriage and an even unhappier split. My in-laws can’t stand each other. And nowhere was it more evident than at the parties surrounding the rite.
On Friday night they were seated at the same table as each other. They sat on opposite ends and did not speak. My MIL did manage to make it to our table and say really nasty things about my FIL… My FIL didn’t say anything bad, but did he have a sour face the whole evening… At some point my MIL couldn’t find her purse and my FIL had it- never did quite figure out what was going on there…
At the big party of Saturday, my MIL managed to tell everyone she spoke to that my FIL cheated her out of all her money- and this includes the hair dresser that helped her before the party (the claim is false- they had to settle and she had been the primary bread winner, so yes, she did have to pay him, but as they both said they were cheated I’d guess it was a fair settlement). But remember, this is a celebration…but never did she mention her grandson, the young man of the hour. Not once.
My FIL on the other hand chose to be morose. He sat as far away from the dance floor as possible, and it wasn’t because of the volume of the music. It was evident that he didn’t want to be part of the action… So tuned out was he, when the DJ announced that the grandfather would slice the challah, three times it was announced, my daughter had to run across the floor to get him… I have to say that the cutting/blessing of the challah is a very important tradition, and it is a great honor to be the one chosen to do this… so how could you not be paying attention?
FIL also didn’t go to the dance floor when they put my nephew up on the chair…another big tradition (for those not familiar- the group encircles the honoree and a group of able bodied people lift the honoree on a chair, raising the chair up and down, while the crowd claps- it’s quite fun even though you swear the person is going to fall off the chair) FIL didn’t dance the hora. FIL didn’t dance with his daughter, his niece, my daughter or even his partner… He sat and stewed. All night.
At the Sunday brunch, my MIL sat down with her ex brother in law, and told him how much she hated his sister… Seriously- she said that the sister was a horrible person who did nothing for the family and she didn’t understand why anyone talked to the sister. Remember, it’s the guys SISTER…and obviously her exes sister…
To recap- my MIL bad mouthed my FIL to literally everyone she talked to. My FIL sat and didn’t talk to anyone and didn’t take part in anything. My MIL said her ex SIL was a bitch. I don’t think I saw either of them smile the whole weekend. Neither of them toasted or made a speech about their Grandson. For people who talk about how much their religion means to them, how much their family means to them…they sure didn’t act that way… This was a big celebration, a huge rite of passage, and they couldn’t get past themselves to enjoy it.
Does hating your ex trump everything else?
There are times when exes who have children and grandchildren must get together. Shouldn’t all parties force themselves to reach some sort of détente? Shouldn’t they get past their bitterness and rage for a few hours and enjoy the good things that came of their union, even if the union wasn’t so great?
Is bitter really what you want to be wearing when your Grandson is celebrating something?
If you had to see your ex at an event, would you try your best to have a good time, and let the resentment pass, just for that time? Or is holding on to the anger the best way to go?