Today I received an email from my dad. (This is normal, we email a lot.)
The email said, "i am getting plates and bowls for you, do you need separate silverware? please let me know your dietary needs. what do you want to eat while you are here? what can you not eat and how can I prepare for this? love, Dad"
|Me, my dad, and my sister|
Monday night I am flying to America. My anxiety had been slowly building. I have been observant for a while now, but every time I would visit America, I gave in. But every time I did, it felt worse and worse. I didn't want to impose "rules" on my family or to be a burden. I didn't really know how to explain myself, why I wanted or didn't want to eat certain things, in certain ways, or on certain dishes. It felt bad to request things that I couldn't logically explain, like, "well, after it's dipped in the water, I can/will eat off of it."
Yesterday, I talked to my dad on the phone and I started spewing all these anxieties and how I was nervous. And he said, "you're also going to have to give in a little." Yes, I totally agree, but I felt like even that is difficult if they can't understand how much I really am giving also.
I want to be a part of my family. I want to go on family trips, I don't want to be different or outside, or make things more difficult for anyone. I don't want to feel like I can't participate. I really have the best family in the world. They are loving, giving, caring, supportive. They have only encouraged me to follow my own path and to become the person I want to be.
I could also feel the anxiety lift off my shoulders when I received the email. I don't know if my dad understands anything about keeping kosher. Probably some, no shrimp, no pig, no mixing dairy and meat. But he's not Jewish, in fact, he's a very observant Catholic. Maybe because his religion is so important to him, it's easy for him to understand why mine is to important to me.
Or maybe it's really just because he loves me so much, and understands that this is something that I really value and it's how I live my life. My dad (and mom, too, of course) has been providing for my every need since I was born, and so now too, this is a need, and I think my dad really understands that. For me, keeping kosher is a need.
Thank you, dad, for listening to me and reaching out to me. For understanding the things that I didn't have the courage to explicitly say or ask for. Thank for you being a partner, and of course, like always, thank you for taking care of me.