Monday, August 12, 2013

The Wayward Daughter

Ed's Note:  Someone emailed me to tell me that this past weeks Torah reading was about the Wayward/Rebellious child - suggesting I write about it.  Because I am bigger than most, I will go out on a limb and take that suggestion in the most non-insulting way possible.  I'm pretty sure that's how it was meant.  Tact people, Tact.

"Mamma told me, when I was young
sit beside me - my only son
and listen closely
to what i say
so it can help you, son,
some summer's day..."

Paraphrased from "Simple Kind of Man" by Lynyrd Skynyrd.

They say that the love of a child for a parent can never be as true as that of a parent for a child.  A child's love is selfish - it's about want.  Whereas a parent's love is completely selfless - it's all about the child wanting nothing in return.

But what if the parent doesn't love the child?

Am I wayward if I am not a daughter?  Am I rebellious if I am just in my cause?  All these years later, does it even matter anymore?

All this time later - I don't love her.  I won't ever love her.  However, I don't hate her either.  We are in a place.  A good place a bad place.  A place. 

But that's the end of the story, not the beginning.

"Why can't you be more ________?" she asks her.  "She's such a good listener.  She behaves so nicely.  She doesn't ask so many questions.  Just behave better and mommy won't have to punish you."

_____, of course, is the older sister.  The prize.  So gorgeous and so well behaved.  So vapid and spoiled.  So lost.  She married "well", she produced a child, two children now, and I'll wager she's already used her allotted number of weekly nail spa treatments and it's only Monday. 

Perfection.  A true totem to look up to - married a wonderfully vapid and dull witted guy who cares more about the cut of his suit than the God he wears his black hat for.  Having an affair with some other guy at least two decades before she's even old enough for a mid life crisis.  Already mistreating her little girl with veiled barbs and cut downs from her perfectly glossed, smiling mouth.  Oh how that little girl will hate her some day.

But enough about her.  This is about the Wayward daughter.  The one who rebelled.  The one who refused to follow the path.  And she didn't rebel like her older brother - the one who was able to follow the "party line" on the outside-  keeping his little coup de tat's to the backrooms.  No, this one had to go "whole hog" - to eat [non-kosher] and drink [and drug] and steal [from their wallets] (yea, I looked it up - thank you Artscroll).  This one didn't pussy foot around, keeping one foot in each world. 

This one was wayward.

And the sins piled up.  And the home situation deteriorated.  And this evil had to be eradicated from the world.


Except this rebel wasn't executed.  This rebel was, finally, shown a little love.  Tough love, perhaps.  But love.  And instead of spitting at it, she chose to try and find a way.

The Wayward   Prodigal Daughter.

This is the story.  I've told it before.  You've heard it before.  It gets old, doesn't it?  Redemption from the pit of despair.  Yada yada yada.

But as it recedes behind me, each day it gets further and further away, it still can appear in my mind.  You never know what will set off a memory.  A movie, an ad, an email about the Wayward Child.

But that's what my journal is for.  To have a place to capture these thoughts when they come spilling out, a bucket for the sewage that will bubble up to the surface when my mental and emotional sump pumps fail.

The Wayward child.

The Prodigal child.

I have gone from one to the other. 

Can't wait for that Torah portion.

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