About Separation

eema separationFirst, a definition. What is separation? Well, assuming one understands that we form attachments at very young ages, we could define separation as the process of moving away emotionally from those attachments.

Often separation is about the process of separating from one’s family of birth and attaching emotionally to friends and to a family of our own forming. And then, if you have children, the separation continues, as your children grow and gradually separate from you.

Sometimes separation is about losing a connection with a close friend, like when I was single and a close friend got married. My friend became more connected to her husband, as one should, so there was the loss of the emotional closeness, and she also moved away physically.

At other times separation can just be the process of leaving a thing, instead of a person. We are going away at the end of this week, and I have a hard time separating from my kitchen!

Tonight separation was about going to my son’s eighth grade graduation. I’m sure part of the reason I did not enjoy it was because my eldest “baby” is growing up. And I have to suffer through another graduation this week, as my youngest “baby” graduates from kindergarten. Torture for moms, that’s what graduation feels like.

Years ago, a non-Jewish friend who had grown up in a mostly Jewish neighborhood told me that she thought Jewish kids have a harder time separating from their parents than non-Jewish kids. I think there is some truth to that. What do you think? Is this too much of a generalization?

Have you found separating difficult? Any more so than those around you? If you are a parent, do you linger at the door when you drop off your pre-schooler (I was told that my husband should start bringing my daughter to school, and we agreed. Drop-offs have reportedly gone much smoother recently).
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This post was inspired by these posts about separation:

I’ll Call Baila: Leavin on a Jet Plane and Ever Notice How…?

Eclectic Jewish Thoughts: Letter to Yated about Father-in-Law

Orthonomics: Same Yated Letter

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10 thoughts on “About Separation

  • mazal tov on the graduations.
    but they are so boring (ok, maybe preschool is cute) and i’m sorry you are going to them. (although i’ll bet you don’t mind)
    enjoy the vacation

  • I go to the US with some of my kids each summer. I have a hard time when I return, and one of the main reasons is that other people (even though they are my family) have taken over my kitchen!!!!

  • When my oldest daughter graduated from kindergarten I cried like somebody died. My husband hissed, “Would you stop it? It’s embarrassing….” I totally embarrass myself at these things to this day, but with less intensity than I did then.

    It wasn’t difficult for me to separate from my parents, but it is to separate from kids.

    And graduations are boring, except for the part where your own kids is performing or getting his diploma.

    On to the next great stage of his life, Leora! Mazal Tov!

  • I only know about this from the kid end, really. My parents told me repeatedly while I was growing up and afterwards (to the limited extent that process concluded) that their job was to give me the tools to live my own life, but that after a certain point the decisions and the consequences of them were my own.

    They often didn’t like my decisions with respect to religion in particular, but they kept affirming that while they didn’t agree with my choices the choices were mine to make, and that disagreeing did not mean any reduction in the love we had for one another. My mom once said something like “We loaded the dice as best we could so you would decide the way we thought best, but after that it was all up to you.”

  • Lion of Zion, graduations can also be annoying, as though kids are supposed to say they loved school 100%. Kind of fake.
    On our vacation, I hope to do a surprise post at some point.

    Mom in Israel, kitchens are important to us moms!
    Baila, I think separating from my kids is easier, not that it is at all easy, but at least I have an idea that it is not SUPPOSED to be easy. As a young adult, I felt like I left home with all sorts of ideas, then I felt like I fell flat on my face, because the “real world” wasn’t so easy for me.

    Larry, I like your mom (even though I’ve never met her). That’s basically my mothering philosophy: “We loaded the dice as best we could so you would decide the way we thought best, but after that it was all up to you.”

  • Does eighth grade graduation mean that your son has finished middle-school and is moving on to high school?
    In France we have no graduation event/ceremony; kids take exams and just disappear.
    Although graduation from kindergarten might be taking it a bit too far; I believe that it is necessary for kids to have steps in their lives. We have them as far as religious life is concerned but it is good to have them on the level of society too I guess.

  • Kindergarten graduation is basically the end of the year show, where the kids do a bit of a song and dance for the parents. They seem to do this at the end of each preschool year.

    Eighth grade means he has finished his current school. Next year he will be waking up very early to travel one hour away to a high school. The high school has an excellent reputation, and we are hoping it will challenge our son.

    I never had eighth grade graduation. I went to the same Jewish Day School from 1st to 12th grade, and then I had a graduation. In the graduation picture I am grinning from ear to ear. I was happy to be moving on.

  • intersting idea, that jewish kids have a harder time separating than non-jewish kids. in my own life experience, it was the opposite. i was the only kid i knew who went away to summer camp (jewish, of course), it felt like a “jewish thing to do” and all my non-jewish friends stayed home all summer. so when i went off to college, it was just like going away to camp, and i was fine with it, whereas all the kids i knew who’d never left home before had so much trouble. my oldest, at age 6.5 is already ready for me to send him off to overnight (jewish, of course) camp…which won’t happen for a while:-)

  • Phyllis, thanks for your perspective on the separation Jewish kid vs. non-Jewish kid. It could just be we are wired differently as individuals.

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