Friday, February 19, 2010

Conflicts in naming our daughter.

Just some ranting about naming our daughter. I'm a bit pissed because I just had a fight with my mom over what my wife and I are deciding to name our daughter. We actually haven't decided on a name, and it is a bit of a tough one this one because I named the first one (boy), she named the second one (girl), and now this third child is a girl, and I feel that my preference should be a preference over her preference because it's my turn. Truthfully, I think EVERY CHILD should come from Nevuah (prophecy), but this time around, neither of us are getting anything... maybe our spiritual antennas are broken. ...and the baby naming would have to be tomorrow in shul, so time is coming upon us.

Personally, I think this "my turn, your turn" thing is silly, but I read it in a Jewish customs book as the halacha when parents are not in agreement what to name the child. Honestly, after the fight I just had with my mom, I want to just give in and name her what my wife wants to name her just to spite my mom.

The fight with my mom revolves around her guilt feelings and negativity about her mother. Her mother was a great woman, and was an amazing grandmother. I was VERY close with her in her life, and I'm sure she's a guiding light for me now in my death. My mom on the other hand has a different story. My grandmother was a very modest woman, and as such, she was very afraid of the Ayin Hara (the evil eye) and thus she never spoke well of my mom in public. This damaged her in many ways, filling her with lots of guilt for many years to come, even after her death. Oh, and she was great at the Jewish guilt thing with my mom; it never really affected me because I'm just a SOB so I never really cared when someone gave me a guilt trip.

Anyway, I was persuading my wife lovingly for the past few months to consider my grandfather's name, and it finally succeeded and that was what we were going to call this one, but then whoops! It was a girl! Honestly I don't think I have an argument here because she was going to go along with me, and now I lost my chance because we got the gender wrong.

That didn't stop me from asking my wife to consider my grandmother's name, a Yiddish name. Now if you know Israelis, they HATE Yiddish names. It's just not authentic to them, and having such a strong Jewish identity being tied to the State of Israel, Israelis hate those with Yiddish descent because they feel inferior to them. Me? I'm American. I come from a Yiddish speaking heritage, but it hasn't been in our family for three generations -- I brought it back when I became religious and it's become a part of us since.

The problem is that my wife is very Sabra. I mean VERY Israeli - like with a dark-olive-skinned Israeli mentality on a lot of things. That's great and all, but we're an American Lubavich family, not an Israeli one (custom goes according to the father, and I've set the custom a certain way long before I even met my wife - a weak argument, yes, but custom is custom.) I don't think I have a drop of Israeli blood in me, and I'm not so excited about the culture either way. I feel that our family should represent who we are and who we represent ourselves to be. We are not an Israeli family; we never were, we never will be. Anyway, all this being said, I think she should respect my wishes and I should respect hers and so probably both names should be out and we should come up with something together.

Last, but not least, I suppose my greatest consideration in bending towards my wife's wishes is that firstly, it is not fair to push on her a name she doesn't like, even though she should make an effort to become amicable towards it because she's my wife and she owes a duty to me to do so, but second of all, I feel that my wife has had a very difficult past few months with me, or so it seems from the way she describes things. As such, with all the extraneous factors, I feel that I owe her for her sacrifices with regard to her time in spending every moment with the kids, the diaper changing (as she reminds me about almost daily), the being absent due to all the frustrations we've had these past few years, firstly in working over an hour away from the home in our previous state leaving her stranded with our son, and secondly, after now moving to New York, where I haven't stranded her one bit and she's been closer to her friends and her family than she has ever been, but where I have been absent either emotionally, or physically by being on some crazy document review position or another, or studying for the bar exam which has essentially left her as a single mom for months now and she's tired of it.

I'm completely negating my own feelings here and my own needs which have not been met as a husband, such as being appreciated and having my work acknowledged, and having her understand that times have been very tough and in spite of being laid off and fired from my job many months ago, I have provided for her and for our family QUITE WELL given the circumstances as they have presented themselves for us. For me, I feel that this move to New York has been one heartbreak after another, and I've been more stressed than I ever was. I have changed career paths more times in one year than most people do in a lifetime. I have gone full force into becoming an engineer to augment my patent attorney license; I have gone full force into being a patent litigation attorney until I was cheated by the guy I was working for; I spent months in a document review job where most of the time, I left the house before my kids woke up, took the subways for over an hour, and then I got home exhausted and literally tormented from the terrible people working with me. Then came the whole cramming for the NY Bar Exam thing which has taken me away from my family for months. I feel that each of these has been a huge sacrifice that should be appreciated every day.

However, all this being said, I ignore all this and I'm likely going to side with my wife if we cannot come up with a name, and so we'll end up having our girl with some name that would make an American cringe, and I'll make myself love it.

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