A weekend at the Graham household is certainly an experience. If you are looking for the ultimate in traditional Bnei Akiva style Shabbat, a ridiculous amount of food, drink and random conversation, then the Grahams will have it all for you with a few conditions; Mobile phones must be switched off, kippot are required, and don't forget your non-electric toothbrush (Sorry Shevel I couldn't help myself).
As when you stay with any family you will find that the Grahams have their own funny isms and strange habits. Namely arguing in the kitchen aka Neighbours and Home and Away, however in the Graham household you can hear the entire conversation. Then there is the obsession with the mirror… this comes from having too many vain girls in the family and a father who although about to turn 60 still has a full head of black hair (totally natural he is proud to tell… anyone who will listen!) But the thing that I think is most entertaining to my friends is the amount of flack I get from my family when I go back for the weekend.
Being the least religious in the family, also being the token "shiksa" (according to Mr. Graham), and finally as the middle child I sometimes feel like the main source of amusement for the rest of my family and any guests they have over. The main topic of conversation is generally my lack of boyfriend/ husband/ babies. However this weekend was different.
Firstly I recently got a pay rise, so other than the usual "you owe this one this much money" conversation reducing my raise to a huge deficit, my father began making suggestions for my plans for the future. The big plan for the future is buying an apartment for myself. Now let me be clear here, I have on a number of occasions made this suggestion to my father and received the same response, "when you get married you and your husband will buy somewhere together." And here I was being told by my father that I should no longer wait for a husband (if he ever comes along) but should start planning for the future for myself. Well the good man says that you cannot rely on anyone but yourself! (ha ha ha)
Secondly, over the last month my parents have been busy renovating the house and making important changes that they have been putting off over the last 5 years; namely buying new beds. My younger sisters and I have long been subjected to sleeping on narrow, uncomfortable and highly flammable beds that have long since been banned in the UK. So my parents have been shopping for new beds for their youngest 3 and single daughters. But as my father is now 'planning for the future' the beds are to be upgraded from singles to double beds… that is except for in my room which is apparently too small to hold a double bed!
This left me with the sudden and depressing realization that my parents have given up on me! I mean it is not that I enjoyed constantly being asked when I was thinking about getting married, but to be told that they now believed it would never happen was devastating! I have a vision of all my sisters living in their luxury houses in Ra'anana/ Herzlia Pituach with their rich husbands, coming to stay at mum and dad's for Shabbat in their plush double beds. I on the other hand, will be living in a pokey apartment in Tel Aviv, which was all I could afford for myself, and staying in the 'single' room in my parents' house when I want to go for Shabbat. Weddings and simchot that will never be mine came flashing into my head! Am I doomed to be the poor single Auntie forever? I mean if my family have given up all hope, then what is the point in carrying on! It just shows that all the tongue in cheek comments I have made to my parents over the last year about never getting married have stuck… they took me seriously!
So if anyone knows of a decent apartment going for sale in the Tel Aviv area… I am planning for the future!