Sunday, May 25, 2008
On a more cheerful note:
We made the cross-country journey for my Cousin N's Bat Mitzvah. Two springs ago, we made the same trip for her older sister's Bat Mitzvah. During that trip we tried to visit the sperm bank we planned on using, and ended up with a flat tire. This time, we had our almost-5-month-old in tow. Wow.
This cousin is on my dad's side of the family, and within his family, his dad's side. My father's Aunt E. had four children (and several stepchildren); Cousin P, the youngest, is the mother of the two Bat Mitzvah daughters. They're a large family, obviously, and they regularly has big family parties, not just for Bat Mitzvahs and weddings but birthdays and other random events, often in places like Hawaii. Aunt E. raised her kids on the East Coast, but they all live in various West Coast locations now (including Aunt E). I did not grow up going to any of these events. Family politics led to my dad allying himself with his mom's side of the family, so that's who I grew up spending holidays with. (No gatherings in Hawaii for that crew, just Thanksgiving in the New England suburbs.) When my parents divorced, he suddenly became close with his dad's family. (I don't know if this is the only reason, but they celebrated the divorce and loved my dad's new wife.)
I've been to a few of their gatherings since, and it's fun, of course. I always feel a little anxious and on the fringes, though my dad acts like he's been hanging out with them for years and his wife acts like part of the family. I'm used to feeling on the fringes with family -- because I don't have grandparents on my mom or dad's side, my sister and I were always a bit of an afterthought as the great-nieces instead of the grandkids. This group makes me feel particularly uncomfortable because of their hostility to my mom. They've been nice to both Co and me, though, and were enchanted with Jo. He's the first baby on that side since Cousin N herself was an infant (of course there is my sister's son, but she never visits so they've never met him). I was really flattered that they treated us so much like family, a twisted reaction that is indicative of my relationship to most of my relatives.
I do appreciate that at both of the girls' Bat Mitzvah's, Cousin P. gave my dad honors during the service that are generally reserved for siblings (rather than first cousins). This time he got to hold the Torah while it was dressed, and then sit up on the bimah (the altar) holding the Torah for some time. Co, Jo, and I were called up to say the blessing over the bread at the end of the service along with a bunch of other cousins, which meant that Jo's name was in the synagogue program, our new last name and all.
Jo, true to his generally mellow personality, was a great traveller. He wasn't crazy about being cooped up for six hours on the plane -- now that he can roll around, that's what he wants to do. Co was upset with the amount of crying he did, but I was relieved that he didn't scream for six hours straight.
We were concerned about baby jetlag, especially since he tended to fall asleep at his typical E.S.T. baby bedtime, meaning between 5 and 6pm Pacific. Nonetheless, he slept quite late each morning, generally until 7 or 8 am. On Mothers' Day he slept until almost ten!!
He kicked his feet in the hotel pool, and enjoyed rolling around on a blanket poolside (yes, that's a baby bathing suit).
He looked positively adorable in his dress clothes at the Bat Mitzvah. He fell asleep during the family pictures before the evening party, and slept peacefully throughout the entire party!
(Co is concerned that perhaps we damaged his hearing permanently, but so far there's no evidence to support this worry.) He woke up at the very end, just in time for a brief dance to "We Are Family."
Our first Mothers' Day was occupied by the family brunch at Cousin P's house. We traded cards and gifts once we were back home. I think if we had been more central relatives, my dad's family might have made a teensy bit of a deal about it being our first Mothers' Day, and that we chose to spend it with them. (My father's wife only mentioned four or five times that each of her sons had called her FOUR times because they REALLY WANTED to talk to her on Mother's Day.) But I'm not seriously upset about that.
All in all, a successful first airplane journey for Jo.