Amy 3-23

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“...,to wit”

Since: Jun 09

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#1
Mar 23, 2013
 
Dear Amy:

Can you address etiquette regarding our son’s upcoming bar mitzvah?

We have had a few guests mention on their RSVP that they won’t be able to attend the service (10 a.m.-noon) but will attend the party celebration (12:30-4 p.m.). I gather it is because their child plays sports on Saturday mornings.

We have invited our friends and family to witness, support and celebrate our son’s accomplishment in being called to the Torah and the honor of leading the service — a tradition celebrated for hundreds of years that has required years of preparation and study for our son and family.

This is a milestone event where the religious ceremony is the most important part. Is it wrong to feel that if they can come to the party, they should skip their soccer practice/game for this special occasion? In fact, if time is limited, I’d rather they come to the service and skip the party. What are your thoughts?-- Mitzvah Mom

DEAR MOM: I shared your query with Rabbi Peretz Wolf-Prusan, of Lehrhaus Judaica in Berkeley, Calif., who urges you to approach this challenge with a different spirit.

“Step away from the ‘why’ of why people are missing the service. Don’t draw conclusions. The origin of the meal — the ‘seudah mitzvah’— is even more ancient than the current bar mitzvah ceremony. The meal is a sacred event in and of itself, especially if it includes the motzi (blessing for the meal), and kiddush.

“Guests do not have to ‘earn’ the meal by attending the service, and I hope you’re not planning it as a reward. It undermines the message when the meal celebration becomes silly, meaningless, juvenile or frivolous. The meal is intended as a communal gathering for everyone, inclusive of the whole community.

“Your response to people who cannot attend both celebrations should be,‘Sorry you can’t make the first mitzvah, but we are so happy you can make it to the second.’”

DEAR AMY: My son and his wife have two adorable children. I live with a partner who smokes, but not when others are present. My son’s wife has decided that the children should not visit me ever. She says it is because of smoke.

We have a lovely home. Because my partner has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, we have a very dust-free home with no carpeting. I offered to wash down the walls and do a thorough cleaning just before a visit. We also have a large outdoor area where the children could play without even entering my home.

It hurts me so much. My son and I talk a lot, and I occasionally go to their house to see the kids. I give many gifts, including money, whenever they ask (or even if they do not ask). I have asked my daughter-in-law to balance the value of a grandparent against the possible danger of the smoke. She just says no.

My little daydream is for my grandchildren to know me as a person, not simply as a gift-giver. My mother spent time with her grandchildren — talking, reading to them and cooking with them. I want the same.-- Sad Grandma

DEAR SAD: This illustrates the addictive power of tobacco, where someone with COPD would continue to smoke, even when it has health and emotional consequences for all of you.

If you want to be more of a presence to these children, it will have to be in their home. You do not have to be a fountain of gift-giving. You simply need to let these kids know you as you are. Spend time with them (instead of money on them). Given the limits the parents have placed on the relationship, it will have to be on their terms. And you’ll have to do your best to accept this.

DEAR AMY:“Daughter” didn’t want her kids to meet the baby her father was raising with his wife (the baby was conceived as the result of an affair). I thought her attitude was strange and extremely ungenerous. You don’t have to explain every single thing to kids — they can be much more accepting than adults!-- First Responder

DEAR RESPONDER: I agree. Well put.

Since: Dec 09

Smalltown, Colorado

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#2
Mar 23, 2013
 

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LW2 - I had to read the letter twice. You keep a dust-free house but your partner is still smoking with COPD? Have you idiots ever heard of the gum, the patch, any of the prescription cures for nicotine addiction. Good grief! Your daughter in law is probably not afraid of the smoke as much as afraid of the rampant stupidity in your house.(Rant over)

Since: Jan 10

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#3
Mar 23, 2013
 

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L1: I disagree with this advice. To me, it's an all or nothing thing. You don't skip the boring, I mean important part, and show up just for the fun part, I mean the celebration.

L2: So stop giving gifts and stop giving them money (they ASK for money? Tell them to grow up and pay their own way already). But why is it such a bother to go to where the kids live? Honestl, I wouldn't want to visit in a home where people smoke indoors. So I'm on the mom's side in this. Oh, and stop blaming the daughter in law. Your son's their parent, too. If he wanted the kidsa t your place, he'd bring them there.

L3: Wow, that's a long ago rehash.

“...,to wit”

Since: Jun 09

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#4
Mar 23, 2013
 
Shari23 wrote:
LW2 - I had to read the letter twice. You keep a dust-free house but your partner is still smoking with COPD? Have you idiots ever heard of the gum, the patch, any of the prescription cures for nicotine addiction. Good grief! Your daughter in law is probably not afraid of the smoke as much as afraid of the rampant stupidity in your house.(Rant over)
My mom is 82. She has smoked since she was a teenager. She is one step away from an oxygen canister. I ws with her when the doctor told her that. My brother has ragged her for years and the only effect was to hone her passive aggressive skills.

These days she only smokes on her own back porch although you can still smell the smoke on her in the house.

She won't stop. When she wanted to see my kids or my brother's kids, she would come to our houses, the kids would go to hers much more rarely. The grand kids ahve good relationships with my mom and dad so it all works out.

You can suggest all you want but its an addiction and it is not the partners grandkids. He'll be gone soon enough.

“Derecho”

Since: May 09

Braidwood, IL

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#5
Mar 23, 2013
 

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Shari23 wrote:
Your daughter in law is probably not afraid of the smoke as much as afraid of the rampant stupidity in your house.(Rant over)
She probably just doesn't want to expose her children to the gay lifestyle just yet.

“A Programmer is not in IT!”

Since: Feb 09

Neda, stay with me!

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#6
Mar 23, 2013
 

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1 Somehow I get the impression this is so much more about YOU than the mitzvah's. Dont the kids rake in a ton of dough at those things? You should be happy they are attending the part where your kid gets money.

2 What a horrible DIL you have. Who would not want to bring their kids to a house with a wheezing person in an oxygen tent inside?

3 It's gramps 3rd wife, nothing shocks the kids anymore.

Since: Jan 10

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#7
Mar 23, 2013
 

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I would think an older person using the word "partner" may just as likely be in a committed relationship without marriage (like my mom, who doesn't want to risk her assets/money by getting married).
Kuuipo

Salinas, CA

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#8
Mar 23, 2013
 
PEllen wrote:
<quoted text>
My mom is 82. She has smoked since she was a teenager. She is one step away from an oxygen canister. I ws with her when the doctor told her that. My brother has ragged her for years and the only effect was to hone her passive aggressive skills.
These days she only smokes on her own back porch although you can still smell the smoke on her in the house.
She won't stop. When she wanted to see my kids or my brother's kids, she would come to our houses, the kids would go to hers much more rarely. The grand kids ahve good relationships with my mom and dad so it all works out.
You can suggest all you want but its an addiction and it is not the partners grandkids. He'll be gone soon enough.
My mother also smoked from the time she was a teenager and she died from the effects of COPD. She was a heavy smoker and even though she knew it would kill her, she once told me, "I enjoyed smoking." However, she quit smoking about 7 years before she passed. I always say, if she can quit, anyone can quit. She used those graduated filters that you put on the end of cigarettes and just gradually withdrew.

Since: Jan 10

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#9
Mar 23, 2013
 
I've known a few people with COPD and/or emphysema and it seems like a horrible, painful way to live.

Since: Dec 09

Smalltown, Colorado

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#10
Mar 23, 2013
 

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PEllen wrote:
<quoted text>
My mom is 82. She has smoked since she was a teenager. She is one step away from an oxygen canister. I ws with her when the doctor told her that. My brother has ragged her for years and the only effect was to hone her passive aggressive skills.
These days she only smokes on her own back porch although you can still smell the smoke on her in the house.
She won't stop. When she wanted to see my kids or my brother's kids, she would come to our houses, the kids would go to hers much more rarely. The grand kids ahve good relationships with my mom and dad so it all works out.
You can suggest all you want but its an addiction and it is not the partners grandkids. He'll be gone soon enough.
I know what a horrible addiction it is because I finally quit 22 years ago. After smoking 3+ packs per day, it took the gum, hypnosis, and the patch but I finally quit after trying 10 to 20 times. The patch was a miracle. But to keep a dust-free house while you are still smoking with COPD is kind of like eating a small salad per day while you are sucking down McDonalds for the other two meals while weighing 300 pounds. It is just some kind of mind game to make yourself feel like you are doing something for your problem when you aren't even scratching the surface of your problem.

Since: Jan 10

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#11
Mar 23, 2013
 

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My friend hassled her mom for years -- very obnoxiously -- to quit smoking. 2.5 years ago, friend told her mom that she was pregnant. Mom has been cigarette free ever since.

“On Deck”

Since: Aug 08

French Polynesia

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#12
Mar 24, 2013
 

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Yeah, you can't get rid of that stale acrid smell of cigarette smoke so easily by just cleaning. I've been in some of those houses and came out sick in very short order, due of course to my olfactory sensitivity.
And, as you know, the thing about COPD is that it's considereded a progressive disease in that it steadily cascades and gets worse and worse by affecting other organs and systems, such as the kidneys and urinary tract, because of poor circulation caused by megalocardia and so forth.

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