On the Other Hand…

I don’t know if anyone else remembers Fiddler on the Roof, but that was one of my favorite musicals. I loved the portrayal of a conservative Jewish father walking that tightrope between being modern and hanging on to his traditions, especially the part where he would go back and forth with himself…and the Fiddler…every time one of his daughters asked to break a rule…

“On the other hand,” he’d argue with himself, until the youngest married a member of the oppressive group…”there is no other hand”. Of course, later in the movie, he learns that there is…there always is…

AND isn’t that what makes decisions tougher?

For me it is…I think I inherited that from my father…or just picked it up on my own. I guess it’s whichever side of the nature/nurture debate you’re on. Some days, I’m pure nature. We’re born with certain filters already in place. It’s the only thing that explains why twins raised the same exact way by the same exact parents are so different; or why twins separated at birth and adopted by different families are so similar. It explains why my oldest daughter and my youngest daughter are two very different people even though they were raised by the same parents and only 17 months different in age.

On the other hand, nurture can’t be ignored. Anxiety is a learned behavior and I mastered that even though as a baby, I doubt I was any more anxious than the next newborn in the nursery. Our independence is nurtured, or our dependence is nurtured; our creative talents, our interests and likes.


Recently, I made a decision to register my 16-month-old German Shepherd pup in a doggie daycare. The truth is…I need a break once in a while. She’s smart, even though she’s immature and those two characteristics make for a hectic day around the house, or out of the house, or anywhere she might be actually.

To complicate the issue, we’re visiting our daughter and her family in California. Her family consists of an energetic five-year old, a BAR-exam-prepping husband, a full-time-plus in-home holistic veterinarian, and a senior dog named Tess.  Tess is a sweetheart but her knees don’t work like they used to; her aged bark is no longer worse than her bite and her bite is no longer in existence. She drinks her food, hops to fetch the ball, uses her body to shield her five-year-old from what she probably thinks is a Devil-Dog. (Sometimes, I think she’s right…on the other hand…)

The first three days were rough, then we took her to a meet-and-greet at City Dog Club and after an hour at the park, she came home exhausted and calm. I could breathe.

So, today’s her first full Club Day. I keep watching her on the webcam; sometimes she’s following the human dog-sitter around and sometimes she’s playing and sometimes she’s just lying in a corner all by herself.

I think she’s probably thinking, “Well, I could go play with these dogs…that looks like fun. On the other hand, a nap sounds good.”

Each time I check in on her turns me into a modern-day-non-Jewish Tevya also…

“I never should have signed her up for this. She hates it! What was I thinking?”

On the other hand…

“She seems to enjoy that yellow lab. Her tail’s wagging; she’s having fun and she’ll come home a calm, obedient dog.”

On the other hand…

“I don’t know what’s happened to me…spending my monthly Starbucks allowance on a DOG CLUB.”

On the other hand…

“I don’t need Starbucks anyway. I have really good coffee at home and it’s nice to sit in the backyard in a comfie chair drinking my good coffee”

On the other hand…

You get the picture.

And this isn’t the only decision that I flip-flop on, which is the ONLY reason I’d never run for a political office!

On the other hand, listening to the multiple sides of an argument is a mark of a very good leader.

On the other hand, good leaders also have to make decisions that they then need to defend and commit to and that isn’t my strong suit.

On the other hand…

Yeah. This will go on for a while. My suggestion is that you Netflix Fiddler on the Roof and enjoy Master Tevye at his best!

Mazel Tov!


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