Wednesday, April 11, 2007
She's the little girl who lives catty-corner to us. Our fence and her fence intersect. Jennifer is not Jewish.
Jennifer's family has puppies. Naturally, Chaya is very interested. They also have older kids, who play and talk roughly.
I never wanted to encourage a friendship between the girls, for many reasons. Mainly, because Jennifer isn't Jewish (send hate-mail to address at right). Our lifestyles are so different, I can't envision Jennifer influencing Chaya in a positive way. Last year a non-Jew lived right next to us, and she walked around in her underwear all the time. She talked about her boyfriends. She was 5. This is not okay.
Trying to shelter Chaya from Jennifer is very painful for me. I myself am open, curious and interested in all kinds of people. Chaya is the same. I don't want to give Chaya the impression that non-Jews are bad. I have a friend in the neighborhood who whisks her children inside when the non-Jews next door go out to play. I don't want to be like that. At the same time, I don't want Chaya and Jennifer getting too chummy, either.
We are very blessed to have a swingset. Whenever I take my kids in the backyard, out comes Jennifer. "Chaya!" Chaya runs to the fence and they have their schmooze. One part of me says, she's only a little girl! You're being unfair! Yet there's another part on high alert - ready to take my kids inside when their backyard gets too rowdy, or the conversation takes a wrong turn.
Erev yomtov we were outside, and all of a sudden Jennifer is talking about going to church. I could barely hustle my kids inside before their ears were full of colored eggs. I don't want my kids hearing about easter bunnies or church. I felt like throwing up.
I don't know how to treat Jennifer, either. I'm always cordial to her, but she knows I'm wary. I hate that I give off that vibe, and I hate that it's directed towards a little girl.
Today while Yaakov was mowing the lawn, he found a note pushed through the fence. He grimaced when he showed me. I sighed in great sadness. "I don't want to damage her," he said. "Me neither." "I don't want to damage Chaya, either," he added.
There's a French expression; "entre le couteau et le mur" - "between the knife and the wall." I think that about sums it up for me.