Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Clarification for you all (including my Dear Wife)

(EDITOR'S NOTE: Continued from the comments of the previous post)

When I married DW, I made it clear that our household will be run like a Trini (i.e. someone from Trinidad) household. There will be discipline for the kids, including corporal punishment when necessary, there will be strict rules and there will be a hierarchy of parent and child; we have enough "friends". I take being a parent very seriously and, as with us all I am sure, I want to improve on the job my parents did.

Mum felt the need to point the obvious us to us about what our life would be like when we got together. It is part of the things that annoyed me greatly in the beginning; I may be childlike in my zest for life, but I am not a child so don't make the mistake of treating me like one. When DW and I got together, we knew from the start what life would bring us due to our contrasts. She was white, I was black. She was munch-a-cake Canadian, I was born and bred Trinidadian in Canada. She was Jewish, I was Roman Catholic. She was short, I was taller. She was older, I was younger (meaning I woudl probably still die before her when we reached old age). The world of averages was stacked against us and we knew that going in.

Well, despite some, er, incidents with her family, some challenges in our own little circle (with and without TC), we have now been together approximately eight years and we celebrate our second anniversary on June 13th. This is my friend, my partner, the love of my life and my equal. I would not be who I am today without her. And that is the plain truth.

So, anyhow, going into this relationship, I knew that DW's faith was important to her and I not only respected that, I embraced it. When I went to high school at Father Francis Libermann H.S., we had a course in world religions and studied all the major religions of the time: Christianity (natch), Judaism, Confusciosim, Hinduism and Islam. We also were able to visit a place of worship for each which was a huge learning process in how others believed and worshipped in their faith. It was also the catalyst for my questions about the validity of my own faith.

Due to my earlier exposure, I surprised many a family member with not only my knowledge but my willingness to participate in the various ceremonies and holidays that identify with the Jewish faith. I participated in the Seder feast and Passover. I understood the Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremonies because my soccer goalie in my youth had one that I attended. I unfortunately attended the funeral of my SIL's father in an orthodox church; a great man, healer of children and one of the first people to make me feel like a part of the family and welcome. I attended my first bris for our good-for-nothing cousins (inside joke) and I learned of the Sukhot. I may not be Jewish, but I understand what importance it plays in who my wife is so to embrace her I had to embrace it as well.

So, when she wanted a Jewish wedding, I had no issue with it and went for it all the way (except for keeping kosher). When she spoke of our kids being Jewish, I knew that as the mother it would be so. The only thing I balked on was the circumcision. I eventually relented with the demand that unlike tradition, her ass will be right there with our son when he gets his wee wee hacked.

So, my love, there is no angst, there is no question, there is no problem. You are Jewish and so will our children so be. If they choose differently later, it will be because they left our house, are paying their own bills and earned the right to do so by being thinking, mature adults. So it is said, so shall it be done. :)

Oh, sorry for the long ass post. Just no way to shorten all that info.



Callie said...

I think that is wonderful. Coming from a non-catholic, raised in an all-catholic family, who married a catholic man, and now has catholic children, I know how much religion means to some people, and how much tradition plays a part in families. I think it's wonderful you embrace and accept her faith, and participate in the important events.

Dtrini said...

Thanks Callie. She can tell you that it was a big issue int he beginning with the fear I was going to turn her into one of "them" (meaning Gentiles, a much nicer word than the Christians "heathens" in reverse). It took a while for them to see I was committed as much to my own traditions (i.e. Christmas, Lent, Easter and such) as I was in participating in hers. Now we have a very happy blend as her family participates in some ways as well with us, and that makes for a very good feeling. Truth be told, the heathens do Christmas better than this old gentile as my wife LOVES all the cooking and preparing and togetherness of the festive season. I just look foward to eat, and drink and I consider merry as a bonus. :)

Pam said...

There are aspects of my own religion I do enjoy, but somehow I think this is my period of rebellion. :) My parents were practicing Reform jews, my father active in the temple, so my brothers and I were involved while growing up. I don't know if that's the reason, but I do enjoy Christmas and all that comes with it. I'm the one that insisted on a Christmas tree several years ago, I will do the Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, and the more people at my table, the better it is. I've also tried to include as much of V.'s Trini traditions at that time, as well as the rest of the year. But regardless, as V. says, we'll raise our kids with as much understanding and knowledge of both religions such that they will be able to make an informed choice, if and when they choose.

Winnifred said...

Wow - talk about fully embrassing... we've got the opposite going on - we're both sort of at outs with religion - not really embrassing any of it :( well, that's not true - just not sure where i fit I guess... I was born and raised catholic, church every sunday & catholic school... and my dh is protestant - but never went to church and knows nothing about religion. We were married in the United Church (his mom's church and the minister is a friend of the family and wonderful) and my children will be baptised in the United Church... because i cannot embrace the catholic religion any longer... and that teacher getting fired for doing IVF really drove that point home for me!!

(geez - how's that - way more information than you every wanted to know about a complete stranger!!)

Pam - I wanted to answer your question on my blog... we were patients at the Royal Victoria Hospital/McGill in Montreal. Not sure which clinic you're with - but let me know if you have any questions! Are you in the Ottawa area as well?

Callie said...

LOL dtrini! My husband's first wife was Jewish. I'm Baptist. He refers to both of us as 'heathens'. *snicker* It's laughable, because he's the Catholic, yet I'm the one who got our oldest into Catholic school, I'm the one who took her to all the classes for communion, I'm the one who organized the baptism of our youngest, etc . . . But, I don't mind, since the whole Catholic thing is important to him. I figure, when they're old enough, they'll see the light. :-D

Pam said...

Winnifred - I thought you might be at the Royal Vic because you were referring to "the hospital". We're going to be cycling with Clinique Ovo once I'm deemed fully recovered from the July surgery. We're in Toronto but our donor is in Montreal which is why we chose to cycle there. Plus it seems that costs are much more reasonable there than in Toronto.