Back from Chicago

20 Feb

We’re back from our first family trip with the little one, and there is much to say. I’m not sure how to talk about all of it, or which pieces of the trip are appropriate for sharing. There is obviously a large element of over-share in any blog, but in this instance some of my family relations are raw enough that someone reading about themselves might take something out of context. Or in context, actually.

That said, let me separate things out into the trip itself, the mitzvah, the family unravel, and the therapeutic return.

The trip itself
The trip itself went extremely well, both coming and going. Brooklyn baby has proven himself thus far to be a mild-mannered baby, and it showed. There was a grand total of 10-15 minutes or so of crying, from security through the air travel itself, both ways. On the way back, BB even slept through being taken out of the carrier through security. We fed him on take-off and landing, changed his diaper once on each leg, and he was simply awesome. It obviously helped that we had purchased a ticket for him, and so we had him in a carrier seat between us. Still, everyone’s suggestion that traveling with a newborn turned out to be spot-on. Easy, peasy, lemon breezy.

The mizvah
Our reason for traveling to Chicago was for my nephew’s Bar Mitzvah, which went very well. My nephew goes to a Jewish private school, and has learned Hebrew all along, so reading from the Torah and Haftorah were not quite as hard for him as for others. But he handled himself with grace and humility, and it was impressive. Seemingly overnight, my two nephews have gone from being kids to being teenagers. Not sure how that happened. Surely it won’t happen to me.

The unraveling
On the other hand, the family drama surrounding the Bar Mitzvah continued a trajectory that began a few years ago, came to a head last summer, and has now basically unraveled my immediate extended family. I’m not sure what to say about this, because it is sad and frustrating, and anger-inducing, all at the same time. The gap between what I say, think, and do, on the one hand, and what I am perceived to be saying, thinking, and doing on the other, have never been wider. The end result is that it is more likely than not that BB won’t have much of a relationship with (some of/large parts of/key members of) my family. As Tolstoy notes, happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.

The therapeutic return
Not that returning to Brooklyn is therapeutic. Actually, the smallness of our apartment, and the absurdity of living so cramped in this city, paying so much for so little, and being somehow proud of it, is pathetic. But that the boy’s foot has ‘graduated’ from stage one of the clubfoot therapy to stage two. From the cast to the shoes/brace. I’ll have more to say about this, but I think the next few months are actually going to be the hardest part of the whole ordeal for us. At least it looks like that today. Tomorrow it may look different.

So, we’re back. I’ll get back into the habit of posting, and there was fun and funny stuff that happened as well. But overall, this trip and its aftermath felt more like a sharp poke in the groin than a happy meet-and-greet of Baby Bilbo to his clan. Yay for awful beginnings! There’s nowhere to go but up!

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One Response to “Back from Chicago”

  1. Davin February 20, 2011 at 8:49 am #

    You packed a lot into this post. Thanks, as always, for sharing a window into your life. I usually default to the sarcastic/competitive tone that (male) friends have with each other, but the honesty and introspection you put in these pages is what makes your blog so wirth reading.

    Ahem. That said, a two week gap between posts is, frankly, unacceptable. We need a MINIMUM of three snarkily worded posts per week. Maybe two if they are particularly caustic and/or make favorable references to the World Champion Green Bay Packers. We’ll let this one slide, but let’s keep it in mind moving forward, mkay?

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