(First marriage to M)
Deep inside myself I knew that my life would never be the same. Everything looked, felt and smelled different. The sun seemed less bright and the nights were dark and thick. I did not understand what had happened, I did not understand what M had done. All I knew was that something terrible had happened to me and I was powerless to change it.
In retrospect what M did to me that night must have triggered the long lost and painful memories of my being molested by my father as a child. I did not remember that I had ben sexually abused at that time, it was only years later after much therapy that the memories came to light.
M had apparently decided that since he had touched me once, and I did not react in any way, he could now use my body in any way he pleased.
I, on the other hand believed that I had committed such a terrible aveirah that Hashem was punishing me and I no longer had any choice but to do what M asked.
He began to ask me to meet him in all kinds of secluded places, such as parks or his car. Each time we met he spent the time touching my body. I believed that I would go straight to Gehenom for allowing him to do these things. But i did not know how to tell him to stop. It was as though i was trapped in a terrible nightmare from which i would never awaken.
My life became dark and frightening. The days blended into each other until I didn’t know which day of the week it was. I felt as though everyone could see what was happening to me. My skin felt raw and full of shame.
I watched myself trudge through the minutes and hours of the days as though I was seeing myself through a computer screen. I told no one what was happening, I was too filled with shame and contempt for my body and my self.
M told me that this was normal, and that all frum couples touch each other when they go on dates. I knew he was lying, but sometimes I wasnt so sure and I began to beieve his stories.
After a few weeks of being molested by M, I decided that I needed to ask a Rov a sheilah about what to do in this terrible situation. Maybe a Rabbi could help me get out of the terrible things that were happening to me.
I was not prepared for the Rovs response. He asked me only one question: “Is he touching you inappropriately? I responded in the affirmative.
He then told me that I must marry him. I was astounded but relieved also, because I was really afraid that i may be pregnant.
To be continued
The following is a partial excerpt from a PTSD (post -traumatic stress disorder) checklist that I found online.
The reason I put this here is for you to understand why I go back and forth between the present and the past.
Boruch Hashem for the most part I manage very well to stay grounded and in the present. Sometimes however, I can get triggered by an event, or something that someone says, or even a smell or a picture. This “trigger” can push me back into the past and cause the following symptoms.
B. The traumatic event is persistently re-experienced in one (or more) of the following ways:
(1) Recurrent and intrusive distressing recollections of the event, including images, thoughts, or perceptions.
(2) Recurrent distressing dreams of the event.
(3) Acting or feeling as if the traumatic event were recurring (includes a sense of reliving the experience, illusions, hallucinations, and dissociative flashback episodes, including those that occur on awakening or when intoxicated). Note: In young children, trauma-specific reenactment may occur.
(4) Intense psychological distress at exposure to internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic event (triggers)
(5) Physiological reactivity on exposure to internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic event.
I hope it is not confusing to the readers when I vacillate between my current marriage and my previous marriage. In order to make things more clear, I will write at the top of each page which marriage I am referring to. I will use the letter M, which refers to my first husband.
First marriage to M
Why did I marry him?
It is the question many people ask me. I often wonder myself why- especially since I knew as I stood under the Chuppa, that I eventually divorce him.
I was 19 years old and just out of seminary. I had my whole life ahead of me, but I had no idea what I was supposed to do with that life.
My parents did not engage in trying to find me a shidduch, which was what all my friends were doing. I was not allowed to go to college, so the next best thing was to find a job.
I had an easy time finding jobs because I was a diligent worker and I wanted to please. The jobs I found however were very boring and I didn’t stay very long at each job. I had no degree and no skills, so I took whatever I could get.
One of the jobs I had was in a gift shop. I was assigned to package gifts in different attractive ways. I am creative and I loved the job. But one day the boss (an older guy) came over to me while I was working. He stood close behind me- too close- and started touching me. I quit as soon as I realized what he was doing.
I had a lot of free time on my hands, so I enrolled in a self- defense class. The instructor was a young guy who claimed to be frum- even though he didn’t always dress so frum.
He picked me out almost immediately. Predators know their victims and it didn’t take long for him to recognize his victim. He had startling blue eyes and he was muscular and charismatic. The other girls in the class were crazy about him. But he chose me and I felt special. He began by asking me to stay after class so that we could practice a move that he thought I needed some help with. I was glad of the attention and I willingly obliged. Slowly we began to spend more and more time together. We talked for hours about his life. He was an amazing story teller, and his imagination and his stories were often riveting, (I found out much later that everything he told me was lies).
I told no one that I was spending so much time with M. I knew it was wrong, and I knew that my parents would be angry and disappointed. Even though I was aware that what I was doing was not what regular Bais Yaakov girls do, I couldn’t stop. I had finally found someone who liked and cared about me. He told me I was pretty and that I had beautiful eyes. He said I was special and that he had never been with such an amazing girl before. I lapped up his words with a terrible thirst and a mindless need for someone to give me the attention he was offering. If someone had held a gun to my head I could not have stopped seeing him.
By this time my parents knew that I was hanging out with this guy. They half-heartedly tried to dissuade me from seeing him, but just as with everything else they didn’t really care that much as long as I wasn’t bothering them.
One day, M and I went for a walk. It was late evening and the sun was low in the sky. The air was warm and I felt happier than I could remember feeling in a long time. We walked along a path where flowers grew on either side, and I remember inhaling the sweet smell of roses. Soon we came to a half built house. He smiled at me and said “Lets go and see what this house is like inside”. I followed behind him, and we stepped inside the dark interior of the construction. He kept on going until we had reached a large room with an opening for a window. I couldn’t see very much, but I trusted him and I followed blindly. All of a sudden he turned towards me and roughly pushed me up against the wall. I had no time to ask him what he was doing, because in one swift motion he had lifted up my skirt and pulled down my underwear. I was shocked into silence. I tried to scream but no sound came forth. The wall behind my back felt hard as he pushed against me. I looked at him and I felt as though I was seeing him through a screen or window. Everything felt far away, as though it were happening to some other girl, in some other place.
After he had finished he motioned for me to follow him. I quickly adjusted my clothing and we walked out into the cool night air.
We walked home in silence. I tried to gather my thoughts. I knew something terrible had just happened to me, but I did not know what it was. I felt as though my soul had been smashed into a thousand pieces, and that I would never be able to recover the pieces of my being.
Head down, I trudged home. Shame, guilt and fear enveloped my being and I felt as though I had stopped breathing. I walked into my house and went straight into my room. I took a shower and tried to scrub his hands off my skin. Afterwards I went into bed where I stayed for two days. I wished for peaceful death. I lay in bed paralyzed unable to think or move. My parents went on about their business and did not even bother to check if I was still breathing. One of my sisters brought me occasional glasses of water, which most likely saved my life.
Two days later I slowly came back to life. I got up from my bed and began to eat. I went through the motions of life, but my mind was in a different place. I walked through the days feeling his hands on my body. No amount of baths or showers could get rid of those hands.
I was 19 years old, and I felt as though I was 100.
I tried to get out of bed, and the room seemed to spin around me. I felt as though the ceiling was coming towards me, and my head felt as though it were made out of a block of cement.
I was scared, I didnt know what was wrong with me. Only yesterday I had been perfectly strong and healthy, and now I was completely incapacitated. Somehow I got the kids off to school and I was left just with the baby. My husband realized that I couldnt be left alone, so he stayed home from his job, and made me a doctors appointment.
I spent six months traipsing from doctor to doctor. I had my heart checked, and my ears. I went for eye tests, blood tests and MRI's on my brain. Every single test came out negative.
Every doctor I went to pronounced me perfectly healthy. It was astounding! I could not walk without assistance, sounds had become intolerable- I could no longer multi-task, it seemed as though my brain was in slow motion. I felt as though I was watching the world through a filter, or a video screen. My head felt so heavy I could barely hold it up to walk. My life as I knew it, slowly ground to a halt.
After 6 months of searching for answers, I almost wished I had a brain tumor just so that I would know what was wrong with me. Fear of the unknown was too much for me to bear. I lived in fear that I was going to drop dead at any moment.
The last doctor we visited was a neurologist in a well known city hospital.
He took one look at me, checked the MRI of my brain and told me to find a therapist.
My husband and I almost laughed out loud. A therapist? We didnt even know what therapy was. I did know that the idea was ludicrous. I had some life threatening illness and this dr tells me to go to therapy!!
In the end I had nothing to lose. I wasnt getting better, and there were no more tests to be had. I found a therapist and went for my first appointment. When she asked me what I needed from her, I told her that my neurologist had sent me to her, but I had no idea why.
I began therapy and with the therapy my nightmares began.
Within two months of sessions I began to feel suicidal. I recall the day when I became aware that my mother was less than adequate and that my childhood was not what I had thought it was.
The shock of awareness caused me to become extremely depressed and anxious.
I was beginning to become aware of the tragedy and enormity of my childhood, and the knowledge was too overwhelming.
As I progressed in therapy, my physical symptoms began to diminish.
I became more functional physically, but emotionally I was a wreck.
I was married for the first time when I was 19, to a man who physically, sexually and emotionally tortured me. I have written an account of some of the things that he did. Boruch Hashem I was able to escape after only 18 months of marriage. I was one of the lucky ones because I am alive to tell the tale. Many women who are in domestic violence situations cannot get out, and sometimes they are killed. We hear these kinds of stories in the media, but I can assure you they are true in frum homes too.
I yearned to have children whom I could nurture and love, and so after I got divorced I actively engaged in trying to find my second husband. I made a conscious decision to move forward and not look back at what had happened. I did not want to dwell on the horror I had experienced, I wanted to start anew and begin my life once again.
I was young and optimistic, and it did not take me long to become engaged to my current soon to be ex-husband.
In retrospect and after many years of therapy I realize that I was an easy target for an abusive personality. I was lacking in the most basic of self-awareness, and I was a people pleaser. I could not say “no” to anyone and I lived my life for others.
We were a “perfect” Shidduch. He was an aggressive man, who believed that the world “owed” him. He also believed that he was perfect and he blamed the world for his problems. Nothing was ever his fault, and nothing was good enough for him.
I played right into his beliefs and he fed off my lack of awareness and low self-esteem for 20 years.
I had just come out of a dangerously abusive marriage, to the point where I was lucky to be alive. In my mind, if my husband yelled or called me names, or threw objects at me, it wasn’t so bad. I mean having an angry husband doesn’t come close to being threatened with a gun. It took me many years to understand that I did not deserve to live in this manner. I did not know then that I was a good person who deserved to be treated with dignity and respect.
From the beginning his attitude towards me was; “I am the master, and you are my slave- you had better listen to me otherwise your life won’t be worth living”
I accepted my role and I tried hard to please him. However I was never good enough. My skirt was either too long, or too short. My clothes were the wrong color, my shoes were too trendy, or too frumpy. The books I read were wrong/bad/disgusting. (Lots of memoirs and stories of abuse- which I realized later I was trying to identify with the lives of others) The music I listened to was not fit for a Bas Yisroel. (MBD, Avraham Freid….) I wasn’t allowed to go to the library, and I wasn’t allowed to have internet access.
Slowly but surely he isolated me from my friends and family. After a few years I had become a recluse baby machine. I was having one child after another, working full time (from my home) and taking care of the house kids and husband. I accomplished all of this, while he complained and criticized almost everything I did. He did not like me to leave the house, and so I became more and more isolated.
I had no sense of self, and I did not know how to take care of myself. I didn’t eat much, because I was never hungry. I took care of my children, nurtured them both physically and emotionally, but I had no clue how to take care of myself.
One day about 6 weeks after I had given birth, I woke up and I could not get out of bed. I tried to stand, but the room swam in circles. I pushed myself and crawled on the floor to the bathroom, but I could not walk. My baby was crying, the older children needed to get to school, and there I was completely incapacitated.
To be continued:
I am trying hard not to remember.
But the memories flood my brain- there is no stopping them.
It was a warm spring day, and we decided to take the kids to the beach.
It was not the summer and it wasn’t warm enough for un-Tznius attire.
We were forbidden to go any where near the beach in the summer or on any warm day, because my husband did not want our children to see people in bathing suits. Our kids were little and I didnt think it was a problem, but my opinion didnt count, so I was glad that today we were allowed to go!
I was excited. I loved the beach, perhaps because as a child we spent many summers at the ocean, playing in the sand and running free. My children also enjoyed beach trips- we didn’t get to go very often, but the times we were allowed to go were a lot of fun.
I packed everyone into the van. We were taking roller blades for the older ones, and small tricycles for the younger kids. We had planned to spend some of the time riding bikes on the boardwalk, and afterwards we would play in the sand.
We arrived at the beach and the kids tumbled out of the van in excitement.
Soon we were all standing on the sidewalk, each one carrying something while I pushed the stroller with the two babies. As I was waiting for my husband to get out of the car, he suddenly rolled down his window and said:
“Im not coming with you, you can go yourself, I will pick you up later”
I was stunned.
“Why?” I implored
“You know why!” he responded angrily
“You know what you’ve done”!
I did not know- I had no idea what I had done to make him so angry.
But there was nothing I could do.
I was going to have to manage taking care of all the children on my own. I would have never have allowed them to bring so many toys if I had known he was not going to be there to help me.
I stood there on the side walk with a bunch of small children and watched him drive away. I choked back my tears and turned with a smile and told my children that Tatty couldn’t come because he was very busy.
The kids didn’t seem to mind and soon we were on the boardwalk having loads of fun. It was hard taking care of everyone on my own, but I managed, and we ended up having a great time.
Soon it was time to leave, the kids were hungry and tired, the babies were Kvetching and the sun was getting lower in the sky.
I had no cell phone at that time, so I couldn’t call my husband. I assumed he would be waiting for us in the parking lot. We walked slowly towards the car, schlepping all our stuff. The younger kids could hardly walk, and I ended up having to carry most of their toys. By the time we got to the parking area my shoulders were aching from carrying everything, and nearly everyone was complaining about something.
We searched for our car, but it was nowhere to be seen.
“Tatty will be here any minute”, I reassured them.
We waited and waited.
It began to grow dark and there was nowhere to sit. The air turned chilly and the kids were shivering in their thin T-shirts.
Then one of my older kids needed to go to the bathroom. I began to panic. Here I was, alone with a group of cold, tired and hungry kids, and no bathroom in sight. What was I supposed to do? We had so many things to carry, I couldn’t possibly start walking in search of a bathroom.
Where was my husband?
How could he do this to me?
I knew this was a punishment for something I must have done.
I must be such a bad wife to deserve this. And now I am a bad mother too- allowing my children to be cold and hungry on a street corner on a chilly evening.
An hour later he arrived.
By then we were freezing and everyone was crying.
My own tears were behind my eyelids where no one could see them.
He rolled down his window, and with a smirk, asked us if we had had a good time. He didn’t even bother to get out of the car to help me put the kids and our stuff into the car. He was all smiles and pleasant on the way home.
I had received my punishment.
There was nothing left to say.
One of the dreaded actions in divorce cases.
At least for myself this money has become dreaded.
I was not expecting it to be easy.
I was definitely not expecting to be handed the money on a silver platter.
I was however expecting a little respect and dignity.
Apparently he does not care about the smaller aspects of human communication.
So this week he failed to give me the small amount of money he is required to pay by law. I am unfortunately at this time completely dependent on this money. I use it to buy food and pay some bills. It is used for all those little extra things that my kids “remember” to tell me about 5 minutes before the school bus arrives in the morning. A Siyum , or some arts and crafts that the class is doing and costs 5 or ten dollars. And sometimes a child just wants a few dollars in his pocket to buy himself a drink.
I am in the midst of trying to put the pieces of my life back together. Not only financially, but emotionally too. Two decades of abuse is difficult to overcome- I am not complaining, it happened and it made me the person I am today. I am sure that someday soon I will be earning my own money and I will not have to rely on him utterly and completely.
He did not treat me in a way that I deserved to be treated. He humiliated me and caused me to shed bitter tears. Why then do I expect him to treat me with respect now? Now when he is so angry that I am moving on and away?
Perhaps this is my survival instinct perking up.
Somehow throughout my trials and tribulations I always managed to muster up some hope and faith in the human condition.
I am doing it now, in believing that perhaps he will become a mensh, and maybe just maybe he will understand that I need his money to take care of his children.
And maybe one day he will give it to me on the right day at the appointed time with dignity and respect.
One of my daughters is despised by my husband and his entire family.
It is curious, due to the fact that this child happens to be a person of great personality. She is smart, happy, outgoing, very pretty, caring and extremely talented in many areas. I do not know one person who dislikes her, with the exclusion of “them” that is.
She was the child, who when I went to PTA the teachers would say: “if all the girls in the class were like your daughter, I wouldn’t have a job!” She wasn’t the teacher’s pet sort of student- she was just a pleasure to have in a classroom. She was studious, curious, always wanting to please. She didn’t have to study very hard to get top grades, but she studied anyway because she enjoyed it.
Her bubbly personality and her ability to draw people to her caused great jealousy on the part of my husband. From the beginning he used her as a scape goat. She could do no right in his eyes. It did not matter if she was the most talented sweet child, in his eyes she deserved to be punished and humiliated.
She was the one who was sent to her room for something that she was not responsible for. My heart aches when I think of the tears she shed and the hurt feelings she suffered. He picked on her continuously, berating her for anything and everything.
Her hair was too long, and then it was too short- after that it was too curly, so when she straightened it, he said it was no longer Tznius. Her laugh was too loud, and her eyes too accusatory (she knew the truth), her skirt was too short and then it was too long. Her friends were not frum enough and she liked them too much. She used HIS phone to talk for too long (this was before cell phones) and when she stopped calling her friends, the books she read did not meet his religious standards. (Box Car Children and Nancy Drew- because the pictures were not Tznius)
I cry now when I think of his systematic abuse of our child, and my inability to protect her. I have only found out recently from my siblings, that my husband used to call them and complain bitterly about the terrible wife and daughter he has, and how this child is ruining our marriage. They believed him, and I never said a word in our defense. I did not know I could defend myself, I did not know I was allowed.
Now that I am nearly divorced, my husband’s Rosh Yeshivah brother need not hold back his seething anger towards myself and my daughter. He never liked me; we did not have even one conversation in 20 years, and that includes the time of my making a shidduch for one of his children!
I should not feel surprised at how quickly and easily his venomous words spew forth. They have been bottled up for 19 years (or maybe only for the public) and now he can legitimately publicize and demonize his wicked sister and law and her daughter.
It amazes and sickens me all at the same time.
Yet it also brings home the reality of the Jews at the time of Rabbi Akivah, when the sin of “Sinas Chinom” was rampant.
Hating a person for no valid reason is a terrible thing to do.
I am realizing though, that whoever you are, Rosh Yeahivah or not, you can still cave in and live your life hating people for no reason.
I am moving forward.
I got my civil divorce today. This is a huge accomplishment and milestone. I have heard from many women that it takes years for them to get divorced.
No Get, but I am hoping that will happen soon.
I have been so angry with religion, but lately I have been seeing Yad Hashem in my divorce process. Is there a difference between religion and G-d?
I know there must be, but I am not so clear on how that would work.
My husbands family (and mine too) are very frum. Yet they act in ways that are clearly against any moral standard that I have been taught.
I have learned from when I was a small child; “Derech Eretz Kodmo L’torah”- which I understand to mean that treating others with dignity and respect comes before learning Torah. Does that mean that if you do not act with “Derech Eretz” then your Torah knowledge is worthless?
And if I believe that Hashem loves me and has helped me and even saved my life on some occasions, does that mean I have to wash Neigel Vasser, and make a brocho before I eat, and say Asher Yotzar?
Lots of questions.
Not that many answers.
It is okay though, because I am feeling a lot more optimistic than I have in a long time. I am beginning to see a life ahead, a future. Part of my experience with PTSD was that I had great difficulty in seeing the future. I could not plan ahead because I didn’t believe I was going to be alive. I didn’t believe I would pass certain milestones in my life, or that my kids would grow and eventually marry and live their own lives. There were times when I could not see to the end of the week. I had trouble shopping for Shabbos on Wednesday or Thursday because I couldn’t think that far ahead.
Today I can see past tomorrow and beyond.
I do not envision how my life will be.
But I know that there is a life,
And very soon I will find it.
He has poured salt onto my wounds.
His brother- the Rosh Yeshivah-
(I often mention his title because it seems to me that if you are the owner of such a title, then there ought to be some responsibility attached to it) .
He has added insult to injury by spreading lies about me. He is telling people that I am "crazy" and that I have been an unfit wife throughout my marriage. He says that I am unstable and cannot cook meals for my family nor take care of my children.
He who has stood by for years and watched while his brother tortured his wife and children, now has the audacity to talk Loshon Horah about me.
Why am I surprized?
If they can lie under oath, then whats a little slander here and there?
I am angry that it causes me pain.
I dont want to care about what they do to me.
I want to be in a position where I am beyond him and my marriage.
I want to start anew and find out who I am.
I have only recently understood that I have needs and even expectations.
I do not have to live my life giving and giving until I collapse.
I deserve to have too.
What I deserve? I havent figured that out yet.
It does not matter.
The important thing is that I know that I am a worthy human being, and I am a good mother- no- I am an awesome mom.
I have close relationships with all my children, and even with my kids friends.
I DO NOT deserve to be bullied and humiliated and beaten.
I was created B'tzelem Elokim,
and THAT is something that can never been taken away from me!
I TRUST IN G-D THAT THE TRUTH WILL PREVAIL
Its been a whole week since my last post.
I have not been able to write. I have been feeling very down and hopeless about my situation. Knowing that my husbands family refuse to acknowledge the truth. They are a Yeshivish family, well known in the community as frum erlich and respected. Many people turn to them for help and advice and even money. Yet they stand by silently and watch while their brother- son, plots and plans to destroy his own family.
It boggles the mind; How is this true to the Torah?
I have so many questions and alas no answers.
Boruch Hashem I am feeling better, and I am looking ahead towards the future.
If his siblings refuse to believe that this man has abused his wife financially, sexually, verbally and emotionally, then there is nothing anyone can do- i lose more and more respect for this family day by day.
Every day that goes by, and every time the Rosh Yeshivah shows up in court in defense of his brother, my respect diminishes.
Soon it will be gone. and with it my belief in the Yeshivah world.
Picture the following; A frum Shabbos table; A reign of terror.
The table is set with fine dishes and silverware. There are pink roses resting in a crystal vase casting small pinpoints of light across the white table cloth.
The father sits at the head of the table, and his wife and small children sit quietly in their chairs. Red grape juice sparkles in its bottle, and the silver kois rests beside it.
The children and the wife sit silently, afraid to make a sound. They are smart, they have learned not to make noise or talk at the holy Shabbos table.
The husband looks around and smirks. The family is in his control- exactly the way he needs it to be.
All of a sudden one of the smaller children begins to fidget and touches his sister, and a squabble ensues. The wife gets nervous and tries to break up the fight. She glances at her husband and sees his eyes go dark and his face turn red. She panics, "Please please dont shout at them, they are little kids, they cant sit still for so long!"
But its too late. His anger is aroused and he yells "Be quiet! the next person who makes a sound, can get out of here!
His voice is loud and the kids eyes grow big, and are shocked into silence.
He stands up to make Kiddush, and with a wave of his hand he motions everyone to rise.
One child doesnt get up.
Maybe hes tired or lazy, who knows?
The husband puts down the Kois filled with grape juice, and shouts at his son: "You had better stand up this minute, otherwise I will "frask" you so hard, your head will go flying!"
The wife says nothing; she knows from experience that protecting her child will only make him yell louder.
We havent even made Kiddush yet and there is already a scene, and someone is getting hurt.
The father is shouting now, at everyone.
Suddenly he is remembering all the misdeeds of every child from the whole week.
Soon two children are crying silently, one child has been banished to her room, and the other is hiding under the table. The rest sit like statues not daring to move.
The wife sheds tears behind her eyes and inside her heart.
The father is full of rage, his face is contorted in anger, the words which pour out of his mouth are meant to hurt and humiliate.
And the Shabbos angels have escaped long ago.
I need not say more.
You get the picture.
The rest of the meal continues in this vein, from being forced to keep their finger on the place through every last zemiros in the benscher, to being severly punished for saying something at the holy shabbos table which is not connected to Torah.
Needless to say, our family dreaded Shabbos and it's Seudos.
I felt so helpless.
Unable to protect my children from this madman.
And I could not protect them because I couldnt protect myself.
For me the Shabbos meals were only the beginning.
Later in the privacy of our bedroom he would berate and humiliate me, saying terrible things about my role as a wife and mother.
He told me how worthless I was, and how every one of our children would go off the derech because I was such a terrible mother, He told me that it was my fault that they would not keep quiet at the table, and it was my fault that they didnt put their finger on the place, and it was my lack of parenting that caused the drink to spill, the fighting and bickering and the total lack of disrespect because one of them had given him a bad look.
I could do no right in his eyes.
I was all wrong.
I dressed wrong.
I talked wrong.
I read wrong.
I listened wrong.
I was a bad person and I was raising children who were going to become shiksers and Reshoim.
I write the above, and I thank Hashem that our Shabbos meals no longer resemble this story.
Now we enjoy each others company.
We DO NOT sing Zemiros, but we do sing, because we love singing.
We sing anything any of us wants to sing. From Matisyahu to silly nursery rhymes.
We tell jokes and funny stories.
We talk about what happened in school that week and sometimes the older kids discuss politics.
If someone gets bored or restless, they get up and sit on the couch until they are ready to come back.
Sometimes we will discuss the Parsha, and most often we don't.
Most of the time there is no fighting, but sometimes there is, but it blows over quite quickly.
Shabbos meals are fun for us now.
I am the mother and I make Kiddush and cut the Challah.
No one thinks its funny.
We are happy, and we are together and we are not being abused.
We dont care if there is no father to make Kiddush.
Because there is a mother who loves and cares and cherishes her children for what they have in their hearts, and not because their finger is on the place or because their skirt is just the right length.
We are learning to be happy.
And we are learning well.