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February 27, 2014 - Image 34

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2014-02-27

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

COMMUNITY

• • ,

•••••••,.

VERAWANG

BRIDE

MAVEN

7

7

Dear Debra

of a burning question? Need some advice? Send a
note to Dear Debra at deardebra@renmedia.us, and
look for an answer in next month's edition.

FEBRUARY

9,

Dear Debra:
Our daughter-in-law
is expecting our first
grandchild. She's a
delightful woman,
Debra Darvick
and I've tried always
to be welcoming. She said recently that
when the time comes, she wants their
child to carry on family tradition and call
me what she called her grandmother. I
asked what this nickname was and was
not thrilled by the answer — GooGah.
I do not want to be called GooGah! I
wasn't asked how I felt about this, but
since her comment was made in passing,
I kept quiet. However, the thought of
being called GooGah makes me want to
GooGag. What can I do?
— Grandma, Please

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What a special time in your life, antici-
pating your first grandchild, appreciat-
ing your son's wife for her many good
qualities, even if name-choosing isn't
one of them. Unless the baby enters
the world talking, you have 18 months
to two years to resolve this.
I imagine that one day, after the
baby is born, she may well bring this
up again, projecting her future joy
at hearing her child use this special
name. Ask her how the name came to
be. Likely she'll recall her 2-year-old self
unable to say Grandma or Granny and
substituting the offending moniker. At
that point, mention you're partial to
Grandma but whatever you are called
will be wonderful.
Any number of things may happen:
Baby may well mangle GooGah into
something more palatable; you will
refer to yourself as Grandma and your
grandchild will pick up on it; you will
make a big deal out of this and create
tension that will make future visits few
and fraught. Or you will be GooGah,
and won't care a whit because you will
be caught up in the delight and magic
of having a grandchild.

Dear Debra:
At a recent shivah visit, it was time for
the service. Most of us took up the prayer
book and followed along. The couple in
front of me whipped out their cell phones
and started scrolling away on Face-
book, phones tucked into their siddurim
(prayer books). They were obviously
observant, and you would have thought
that they, of all people, would have had
more respect. Aside from bopping them
on the head, what could I have done or
said?
— iRate

Dear iRate,

Good thing you didn't bop them on
the head, but I certainly understand
the urge. You could have said some-
thing, such as,"What, were you raised
in a barn?"or the kinder and gentler,
"We are all here to support the be-
reaved. Surely you can do the Face-
book thing in a few moments?"
In all likelihood, though, you would
have been treated to some eye-rolling
and perhaps even a snide,"Go back to
the 20th century, why don't you?"
What else sticks in your craw is your
mention that this couple was"obvi-
ously observant,"your logic being that
those so visibly following a certain
Jewish path should know better.Reli-
gious observance and good manners
don't necessarily go hand in hand.The
unintended flip side of your argument
assumes that non-observant Jews
would be more likely to text while
praying; that casts aspersions of your
own, so let's not even go there.
Bottom line, these phones are here
to stay, and occasionally so is the rude
behavior that their owners display. Un-
less the miscreants are being disrup-
tive, best to silence comments, even if
you are vibrating with outrage.

Dear Debra:
In our wonderful, charitable community,
every time I turn around someone I know
is being honored, and, of course, we are
invited to the dinner. I hate to disappoint
my friends, but attending each event is
beyond our means. If! attend one but
not another, I am afraid of insulting the
couple whose event we miss. How can I
say no and preserve our budget as well
as the relationships we have with many
dear friends?
— Friends with Benefit Dinners

Dear Friends,

Perhaps in lieu of attending the din-
ners, contribute to the event's ad book
or donate to the organization honor-
ing your friends. Surely good friends
will understand budget limitations
and realize that your attendance, or
absence, is not an indication of the
value you place on the friendship.
You cannot control the reactions of
the couples whose event you do not
attend. If they freeze you out over such
a choice, perhaps the friendship is best
left at the hors d'oeuvres table.

Successful author and blogger Debra Darvick is the
author of "This Jewish Life:Stories of Discovery,
Connection and Joy"and "I Love Jewish Faces."
Darvick shares her unique take on life, books and
more at debradarvick.com.

1900820

34 March 2014

!RED THREAD

www.redthreadmagazine.com

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