Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Meet Me in Chapter 3

My friend Lori Palatnik says you "meet people in chapter 3."  Meaning you are clueless as to what people experienced before you met them, including upbringing, childhood, challenges, traumas, or triumphs.

If you would have walked into my house a couple of Friday nights ago at 9 pm, here's what you would have seen:

Me, standing at the sink washing dishes. Husband, asleep on the couch. Daughters, reading on the couch. Toys, strewn across the floor.

Here's what you may have concluded:

This woman does everything around here!  Why is her husband snoozing on the couch while she does the dishes?!  And what about those spoiled kids - why does she let them slack off??
Here's what happened in chapter one and two:

Husband encouraged me to take a nap earlier that afternoon.  While I napped, he cleaned up the house, bathed the kids, and finished up in the kitchen.

Husband woke up at 4:45 am that morning while I woke up at 7:30 am.

Daughters helped all afternoon and evening with carpools, shopping, salad-making, serving dinner while I sat at the table, and clearing the table.

Can't wait for chapter 4!

Have you made the mistake of meeting others in chapter 3, not realizing that you haven't read chapters one and two?


  1. This is so important! I'm thinking about how much it applies to watching other parents interact with their children in public. It's easy to make assumptions, but we really have no idea what's going on in their relationship and child-rearing.

  2. It's a good point. You don't get the full picture if you haven't seen what came before.

  3. Noah Budin (www.noahbudin.com) tells a version of a story that is out of this world, that deals with this. Here's a slightly different version:


    If you have a chance, ask him to tell it for you at one of his concerts:

  4. This is so true, and it happens all the time at work. Co-workers can be so judgmental. I try to remember that I know practically nothing about what my colleagues are really going through, with their families, health, and other sources of stress outside of the office.

  5. A great way to express this, an idea I try to convey to my kids frequently. It is so easy to jump to judgement. I'll be borrowing your metaphor.

  6. Rivki, TOTALLY. Especially now that I am parenting teens... wow. What a lesson in chapter 3!

    Sarah: exactly.

    ET: the link seems broken, but that sure looked interesting :)

    Leslie: at work is a perfect example because people leave entire chunks of their lives behind that we are totally unaware of.

    Miriam byk: thanks! It's actually Lori's! :)

  7. Yep, all the time.

    On a personal note: We battled infertility and suffered a loss before having our first child. Then we did almost a year of fertility treatments again for our second. It was painful, heart-wrenching, and soul-crushing. And then I got pregnant (miraculously) when my second child was 6 months old. And now I have three little kids.

    I worry that there are infertile couples out there who see me with my kids and feel envious, sad, or despairing. I know I would have felt that way. I really wish there was some way to let those women (and men) know that I also thought I'd never have the family I'd dreamed of. It pains me to think that I might be causing pain to someone just because they're jumping to Chapter 3. And then I remember not to go jumping to Chapter 3 myself.

    1. Oh my gosh, yes. That's an aspect I didn't even think of, but so true. People may misunderstand, not just what seems negative, but what seems positive. Thanks for the insight.


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