This is What Happens When Coral Gets Excited…

5 May

I spew. So please, enjoy, challenge and comment.

I am afraid.

Before, I was healthily nervous but now I’m gettin’ scared.

There are bloggers out there. Bloggers I admire and thoroughly enjoy following. After checking my e-mail, I check their blogs. That is how much I like reading their posts. I will even admit that they were a greatly encouraging factor in starting my own blog. But there has been one teensy subject that has got be a jitterin’.

Baby Blues.

How is it that girls in their early 20’s are so desperately repining a newborn bundle of joy that they have begun to ponder the possibility the path of chosen single-motherhood? I mean, I guess there is a first for everything; the first time you think about trading in your trike for a two-wheeler and the first time you thought that hey, maybe I am ready for marriage, but is that the same as contemplating raising children with your best girl friend? Has that new J-Lo movie seeped into our oh-s0-frum community or has this issue been on the back burner for a while?

I don’t know, but I can tell you one thing, I never want to sound like that.

Life is a growth process. If you skip steps, you are leaving yourself vulnerable to improper growth. Do you know what I was told by a shadchan the other day? I was told that I better start getting real serious real fast because once a girl turns 22, she is set in her ways, and if I end up being one of those girls…well, good luck, Coral.

I have two words for you, Mrs. Shadchan.

Stuff it.

I’ve heard the phrase before and laughed it off. Set in her ways by 22? Please, a girl has still got to be somewhat flexible at that point. But now I see, this shadchan was right. Girls can get set in their ways. They say, “hey, why should I settle?” Well, let me tell you something girls, there is a difference between settling and being flexible. Settling means settling. I think that term is well understood. Yet many people aren’t familiar with what it means to be flexible. I’ll let Merriam-Webster help us out:

characterized by a ready capability to adapt to new, different, or changing requirements.

Life requires the ability to adapt, my friends. Life isn’t Candy Land. There is no sugar laden trail that leads us to the Big Candy Castle of Perfection. Just because you lived in Brooklyn your whole life thus far doesn’t mean you have to live their your entire life. It’s comfortable you say? I know. It’s the only place you really know and can’t imagine leaving?  I guess one of the blessings I have from growing up somewhat like a military child was learning that going new places, meeting new people and experiencing new experiences enriches life. Life takes you places, extraordinary places, if you just trust that G-d is leading you. Hu borei uManhig. He created you and He is leading you, every step you take. Don’t keep your mind closed to the daled amos in front of you. Break out of the mold. And don’t do so by being a single parent, do so by knocking some credentials off your list. Think! Think beyond the norm. Look where you haven’t looked before.Discover. Delve into the grey (that one’s for you Shades). Yes, you are an incredible girl. I believe it 100%. You deserve what you want…but what is it you really want? Do you want to wear a sheitel, have a Shabbos table surrounded by guests, the impeccably handsome learner-earner and baby on your hip, or do you want to make a marriage work?

I know, making a marriage work doesn’t sound romantic, but guess what, any good marriage no matter how doting the couple is takes work. So you have two choices:

1) You can keep yearning for that image of you pushing a carriage, sheitel on head and ring on hand.

2) Slow down, reevaluate what is truly critical in a marriage partner and keep doing your part.

Anything worth having in life has to be earned and requires patience. The day will come iy”H when you will get to hold your newborn child for the first time. You’ll gaze at him for hours, amazed by the calm on his face and the tightness of his grip. But why skip marriage? Is there nothing to gain? Are you looking to give or are you looking for satisfaction? Dating can be very dissatisfying, but a baby will never change that. And even wondering if you should raise a child on your own, without even trying to establish the ideal home in which to raise him leaves me flabbergasted .

I have two more (rhetorical)  questions and with them, I will end:

1) Who would you be without your father? If you did not have a supportive father/father figure in your life, would you change that?

2) Do you think the kind of guy you are looking to marry would marry a girl with such a mindset? Are you looking for a man who will treat you like a baby factory or are you looking for a man who will treat you as a lifelong companion, lover and partner in life?

It’s up to you, my friends. Listen to Hannah Montana– life is what you make it.

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12 Responses to “This is What Happens When Coral Gets Excited…”

  1. Bored Jewish Guy May 5, 2010 at 1:16 am #

    “Listen to Hannah Montana– life is what you make it.”

    I agreed with you until this part, no one should ever have to listen to that awful noise 😛

    I can’t claim to understand these girls, it’s very different for guys, but practicality aside, is it so crazy for them to want to have kids before it’s too late, even without a husband? I don’t think anyone was saying they don’t want to get married and I don’t believe any of these bloggers have given up on getting married, but if they did give up hope, is it wrong for them to still want kids? It’s kind of a bummer that they would even be thinking of this at such a young age though.

  2. Happy Medium May 5, 2010 at 1:32 am #

    Bravo, Coral! (Although I have to wonder at just how serious Bad4 was being in the post you seem to be referencing).

    Seeing how girls react to friends’ engagements/weddings with the sometimes-sickening mushy “I want to be married!” makes me wonder – do they want to be a kallah or a wife? In other words – do you want to be the center of attention, in a flurry of excitement plannning your wedding, lovingly spending the afternoon with the lucky chassan choosing furniture and nick-nacks to decorate your newlywed apartment with, OR – do you want to seriously, honestly prepare yourself for a lifelong commitment, filled with wonderful ups and downs (that’s right, BOTH are wonderful), that extends far beyond the whirlwind engagement + Shana Rishona period? Sometimes, I feel that some girls just want to be in the “kallah” stage, not realizing that while that is fun, it is temporary. The real adventure begins after you lose the “kallah” title, and transition into the more permanent, and (I’m assuming) more meaningful “wife” (or “mother”) mode.

    And ditto to BJG’s Hannah Montana remark. 🙂

  3. SternGrad May 5, 2010 at 9:23 am #

    Great post!! I really enjoyed reading it. You have lots of great ideas in here, very uplifting. I completely agree with pretty much everything you wrote.

    I second what Happy Medium said about them not being 100% serious in their posts. I believe that their desire to have a baby is not coming from a place of “I just want to move to the next step” so much as it is coming from a place of “I want to give to someone and help them grow.” I think if I was C”VS in my 40s and not married there is a small chance that I would want to adopt a child because there are so many children born whose parents don’t want them and if I am capable of raising a child and giving a child what it’s need when its parents are unable to do so, how can I pass up that opportunity?

    I think the “I want a baby” approach is expressing longing for relationship. Women long to be mothers and that is a separate desire from wanting to get married. I think what they’re getting at is, “Why be deprived of both?”

    I completely agree with you that it is not ideal and we shouldn’t want to skip steps and wanting to have a baby in your 20s is a little soon. But if you’re 40, 50 and have no one in your life? It’s lonely. There may be a point where you want to be a mother and have that relationship. The sad part of the posts you mentioned, in my opinion, are that they are also coming from a place of despair. Don’t give up hope!

  4. SIS May 5, 2010 at 12:26 pm #

    Just to calm you down Coral, I’m way way above 22, and the thought never crossed my mind. Never even came close. As far as your shadchan, I second that: stuff it. I’m way way above 22 🙂 and I still don’t think I have that problem. And as far as settling, you’re not being fair. How much dating have you done? Those girls have tried, have broadened their horizons, have stretched their list thin…and still nothing. It’s not so simple: I’m open and flexible, the husband will appear. It doesn’t work that way.

    And I second what BJG said…please, let’s not listen to Hannah Montana.

  5. coralcap May 5, 2010 at 6:06 pm #

    Okay here we go.

    Let me preface by saying that when I said “Listen to Hannah Montana,” I did not mean one and all should start listening to her music. Yuck. What I meant to convey what that we should heed the advice of that one line from one of her songs. Sorry for the misunderstanding.

    BJG: If a person in their 30’s or above was made the same claim, I would understand. There is no reason to go through life alone and if one feel’s equipped to raise a child on their own in such circumstances then I can understand that. A girl in her young 20’s making the same claim, even in a joking way I find disheartening.

    Happy Medium: I don’t think Bad4 was seriously serious and FnF did say upfront that she would never consider such an option at her age in real life, but every joke has a kernel of truth to it. To me, it’s just not funny. That’s basically it.

    When a girl sees her friend get engaged/married and reacts in with an exclamation like you mentioned, I don’t think it has much to do with longing to be a wife in the practical sense. It looks fun to be a kallah and gets showered in gifts, flip through color swatches and go sheitel/mitpachat/hair covering shopping, but cooing, “I want to be married” is about as genuine as stating, “I want to be a Maccabeat wife.” Of course it would be nice to be married, but anyone who is serious about getting married is past the cooing stage. They take their histadlus seriously and do speak idly of what they most greatly desire. And yes, I have seen girls post statuses on Facebook about hoping to become Macca-wives. Are they serious? No. Is there no truth to their confession though….you tell me.

    Oh and I doubt most people think past the Shana Rishona period. The rest of married life is almost unfathomable when one has not experience the kind of responsibility required to run a household. And I say this as someone who hasn’t had enough experience so I do not write this with pomp or vainglory.

    SternGrad: Again, if one is “past their prime” then I would never question or judge their decision. You brought up a very interesting point when you mentioned that these girls “want to give to someone and help them grow.” This is the exact line I have used in my prayers since I was 16. It is a lovely thing to want to give to someone and help them grow, but as I’ve learned over the years after asking for exactly what these girls have expressed, I have learned that the act of giving is not noble in and of itself. It is not enough to want to give. I know, it’s harsh to say such a thing. It’s hard to hear. How many times must I hear “no” from G-d when all I am trying to do is emulate Him in my humble human way? Many of us feel this way in shidduchim. Hashem wants us to build good Jewish homes and meaningful, Halachically guided marriages, but He can make it SO hard to find “The One.” It’s excruciatingly hard. I get it. I’ve been there. I can see how the desire to be a mother and the desire to be a wife can be separate desires, but iy”H, the two will go together for each person enduring the pangs of waiting. To me, it’s like longing to reap the fruits of a vine before the vine is ready to bare fruit. It saddens me that people 2 or 3 years my seniors feel such yiush (dispair). I don’t want them to feel that way. That’s why I responded so fervently; I don’t want them to feel that way. I don’t want them to give up hope b/c although I do not know them, I’m sure there is plenty of hope for them! Life is so incredibly full of possibilities (I went on a lil rant about that)and I want them to find energy and vigor in that fact. Just keep saying, “Hashem has a plan” (b/c if anyone else says it to a ya, there is a good chance you’ll want to hurl a shoe at them…not you SternGrad, the general “You”).

    SIS: Your words of wisdom and experience have most definitely calmed me down. Now, I have hope 🙂

    FYI, I am not using that lady. I have only met one formal shadchan I like so far, and this lady is not that one. Anyone who can generalize a whole constituent of single girls in such a curt manner sure as heck doesn’t want a girl like me who just doesn’t buy it.

    In regards to “settling” I will be doing a post about in greater depth quite soon, so my views on that topic will be expounded upon in the near future, iyH. In the meantime, I did not mean to CV”S tell these girls that they aren’t doing enough to get married. Chas v’Shalom!! Quantitatively, I am far behind these girls in the dates department, but qualitatively, I wouldn’t put myself so low on the totem pole. The fact of the matter is, even if you do find someone you want to marry and they want to marry you, it doesn’t always work. Getting to the chuppah truly is a gift min HaShamayim. However, as you most probably know better than I do, this still require our effort. I certainly don’t expect a husband to appear out of nowhere. For some people it does, but I’m not banking on that. From my experience, building a relationship requires a great deal of commitment and effort. Unfortunately, putting in your all does not guarantee that the guy will want to give his. 😦

    My bottom line is, life is too precious to waste on yiush. I have my moments (A Letter to Romance, anyone?), but with G-d’s help, I pick myself back up, keeping praying, hoping and enjoying all the goodness He’s given me. I’m sure these girls will or have picked themselves up and will go on to write posts that engender much fondness and inspiration in us all.

    Oh, and just to note. It wasn’t the actual posts that fueled my spewage, it was a few comments I just couldn’t believe.

    Thanks for your thoughts!

  6. SternGrad May 5, 2010 at 7:11 pm #

    “Every joke has a kernel of truth to it.”
    I completely agree! Whenever I say that, people accuse me of being too serious and not able to take a joke. I’m glad to hear someone else say that.

    Coral- I just had to say also that I admire your great inner strength and deep faith.

  7. Bored Jewish Guy May 5, 2010 at 11:01 pm #

    Coral: I understood what you meant with the Hannah Montana thing, but you can’t say that name without making that awful excuse for music/singing pop into my head, which will cause me to bang my head against the wall many times.

    I agree, it is disheartening that they’re even thinking about it, even if it was jokingly.

  8. bad4shidduchim May 6, 2010 at 10:42 am #

    Forget Hannah Montana – what about the J-Lo thingummy? I just went from not knowing who she is to reading a summary of her latest chick flick. The dangers of the shminternet…

  9. SIS May 6, 2010 at 1:07 pm #

    Sigh…of course life is too precious to waste on yiush. No one (almost no one) chooses to go there. Remember…al tadin….

  10. halfshared May 6, 2010 at 8:42 pm #

    Coral, have you ever wanted something so, so badly, with every fiber of your being, so much so that you allowed yourself to dream an unrealistic dream…even if you knew that it can’t and won’t come true, just because?

    Whoever wrote the aforementioned posts weren’t being serious about it. But somewhere, deep down, there’s a longing for something that they can’t have. It’s in every fiber of their being. And yes, I’ve had the same thoughts as B4s and Frum ‘N Flipping. Though I’m not as young as them, I certainly have a long way to go before I have to really be concerned about being past my childbearing years. Still, and maybe for different reasons, I’ve had the thought cross my mind. Shockingly, I’m not embarrassed to admit it. Because this is how I was created. We are all born with the desire, some more than others. And so, although it would be entirely selfish to have a child alone and raise it without both parents (when it’s in mother’s hands obviously), and I would oppose it if anyone asked my opinion on it, I completely and unequivocally understand it.

  11. coralcap May 6, 2010 at 10:23 pm #

    Bad4: I’m am sincerely jealous that you have never heard of J-Lo. Sorry for exposing the banefully base elements of our society’s culture. If I could, I would erase her and all of the other shtuyot I see at the checkout aisle at the supermarket. The internet is a dangerous place…yeesh why did I start a blog when it is so abundantly perilous?

    halfshared: I have felt that way, and I have dreamed such dreams but my basic philosophy is, I have to fight those thoughts. Our mind is an incredible tool and as tempting as it is to use it in order to soothe our pain, it must be fought. Is it easy? Not at all. My approach is to take it one thought at a time. Do I always succeed? Nope. It’s a arduously hard test but I know dreaming those dreams will only do me more harm than good.
    I am not judging anyone for having such thoughts, because controlling one’s thoughts is extremely hard. However, the power one gains by taking control of their thoughts is immeasurable. Whenever I have faced challenges of life, including the challenge of loneliness, I follow a step-by-step process.

    1)I use my heart. I get out my grief. I write about it privately, talk it out with a close friend of family member, address G-d about my situation and feelings, and yes, I might even cry.

    2) I use my head. Whatever happened, happened. Whatever the circumstance is, is and in most cases, I can’t change. The ONLY thing in my control, is my kup (head). I can control how I view the situation, I control how I respond for there on and in that way, I control my destiny.

    I have not been faced with the challenge of seeing all my friends get married and have babies, so I cannot and will not judge those who are in that position. This is all just my thoughts on the subject from my POV.

  12. halfshared May 6, 2010 at 10:54 pm #

    Good for you that you can control yourself like that! Your response was sort of a textbook answer :-), but in real life, as you said, fighting dreams is very difficult. For some people, hoping and dreaming is a balm for reality. And while I do agree that sometimes dreaming can do more harm than good, there is a place for dreaming, which is just a short way from hoping IMHO.

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