Dear Abby: For the last 18 years, I have hosted the Passover Seder in my home. The same people come year after year. My three daughters come and always bring along their friends. It’s a lot of work, but I always considered it our special night and was happy to host everyone.
This year, after spending a week in the hospital following a heart problem, I had a bit of a revelation. I realized that not one of these people who, for years, have sat at my table (some live just down the street) picked up the phone to ask how I am or offer help. I also realized that once they left my house after the Seder, I never heard from any of them, not even in the form of a card.
I’m conflicted about how to act in the future. I know that getting together is important to my daughters. I know that not having a lovely Seder will make me sad. But I also feel that the way I was treated is not right. Advice?
Observant in Maine
Dear Observant: When I read your letter, my first instinct was to suggest it may be time to whittle down your guest list. However, my better judgment prevailed, so I called Rabbi Elliot Dorff, professor of philosophy (with a specialization in ethics) at American Jewish University, and a cooler head prevailed. He said: “You must distinguish between your enjoyment of the Seder and how you have been treated. If you are going to do this, do it for yourself. It doesn’t help to hold a grudge. Rather than nurse a grudge, which isn’t healthy for you, speak up about your disappointment when you invite them and give them a chance to respond.”
Thank you again, Rabbi Dorff!
Readers, what is your opinion about this?
Dear Abby: I am a 69-year-old father of a wonderful 26-year-old daughter, “Robin.” She is my ex’s and my only child. She lives in Texas now. Her mother and I still live in Oregon. I visit Robin during the winter months (rent my own place) and enjoy the limited amount of time we spend together since she works.
I have debated endlessly whether or not to establish more permanent residency in Texas. I would move there only because she lives there, not because I am crazy about Texas. I miss her immensely when I’m back in Oregon. Is it wise for parents to make a move based on where their child lives? My parents’ generation didn’t do that sort of thing.
Dear Contemplating: Because you don’t particularly like Texas, I am lukewarm about the idea of you relocating. Do not do it without having more than one frank conversation with your daughter about it and how it will affect her life. (Is she married? Are there grandchildren involved?)
Do you plan to have other social contacts besides her? Have you thought about how you will develop a social life and blend into the community if you are there permanently?
If your daughter will be your only source of companionship, entertainment, etc., it would not be fair to her. Keep in mind, as well, that 26-year-old Robin may relocate elsewhere if other opportunities present themselves.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.