Friday, June 09, 2006


Once upon a time, S.K. and I were good friends. We went to synagogue, folk dancing, movies, dinners together. She was there at our wedding, and the Punster and I were there at hers.

Alas, we were also there when she decided that her marriage was dead in the water, an assessment with which we initially disagreed, but which, after many months of serious consideration, we came to accept as reasonable.

We were there for her as she embarked upon the challenging task of raising an infant by herself.

And therein lies a tale.

She’s one of only two friends I’ve ever had of whom I can honestly say that motherhood was one of the main things that drove us apart.

You see, her child was perfect.

A little angel, so well behaved.

A high achiever in school.

While we struggled to raise a child with disabilities.

Suffice it to say that she never let us forget it.

Which is why she’s the only mother among my friends with whom I’ve avoided discussing our children as much as possible.

First, she stopped inviting our son to her son’s birthday parties, on the grounds that our son didn’t handle crowds well at that age. Okay, granted.

Then she told me, flat out, that she wouldn’t come to our home anymore because she couldn’t stand my cooking. Again, granted that my main claim to culinary fame is that I’m good at boiling water, but still, did she really have to rub it in by insulting me to my face for committing the unpardonable crime of serving her and her son what she described, with disdain, as "breakfast food"—french toast—for dinner? She had the car. But we had to drag ourselves out to her apartment, in beyond-the-subways land (meaning that we had to take a subway, then wait outdoors for a bus, even in the freezing cold), every time we wanted to see her and her son.

After many years as a single mother, S.K. finally remarried.

If anything, our relationship became even distant, both literally and figuratively, as she moved out of the city altogether to make a new life with her semi-recluse of a husband.

Now, not only wouldn’t she visit us, but we couldn’t visit her, either. It’s not at all unusual, these days, for us to see each other exactly once a year, at the annual “that-olde-gang-of-ours” Chanukah party, which is just about the only time we ever get invited to her home anymore.

The last straw was when she decided, one fine day, that she was no longer going to use e-mail. Ever. (And no, she’s not even remotely Orthodox, much less Ultra.) Nowadays, if I can’t catch her on the phone when she’s home and has time, we just don’t talk anymore.

Tomorrow, her daughter is celebrating becoming a Bat Mitzvah. Oh, did I mention that she now has a daughter? Considering the fact that we probably haven’t actually seen this child more than about 50 times in her entire life, I hope you’ll forgive me. The kid’s a total stranger. And for a total stranger, we’re expected to violate Shabbat (Sabbath) twice over, first by driving to synagogue, which as you know, I can live with, but then, to boot, by driving to a restaurant afterward. It finally occurred to me last night that I really don’t want to go. But unless I’m prepared to break up what little is left of a relationship of over 30 years, I don’t think I have much choice.

Sunday, June 11, 2006 update:
After all that kvetching (complaining), I had a wonderful time at the Bat Mitzvah celebration.


Blogger Jack Steiner said...

Friendships are built on compromise. It doesn't sound like she has done much of it.

Fri Jun 09, 01:22:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Compromise has never been her strong suit, at least not in *our* relationship. Sigh.

On the other hand, see part 2.

Sun Jun 11, 12:25:00 AM 2006  

Post a Comment

<< Home

<< List
Jewish Bloggers
Join >>