Dear Jido – March 2024

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Dear Jido, 

My nine-year-old daughter has a good friend who is ALWAYS over at our house. She’s a sweet little girl, friendly, well-mannered, and easy to have around. She comes over after school three to four times a week, eats dinner with us at least twice a week, and sleeps over one or both nights of the weekend. The only night we never see her is Sundays, when she has dinner with her whole extended family at her grandmother’s house. 

I love this little girl, so I don’t mind. BUT – isn’t it odd that at such a young age, she’s never home? Also, I find it odd that her parents never reciprocate, say thank you, or send her with anything as a gift. I don’t have expectations, but I sometimes feel like an underpaid daycare. 

I really do not know much about her parents, or her home life, so I don’t want to say anything in case it jeopardizes her visits, especially if my home is her safe space. 

Should I just sit back and observe? Or should I speak up? 

Signed, 

Bonus Child 

 

 

Dear Bonus, 

 

The answer might be as simple as – you’re a better cook than her mother. Or perhaps she has so many siblings at home that things are more settled and enjoyable by you.  

 

Honestly, though, I don’t think so. Not at nine years old. Something is going on and it would probably be a great hesed for you to find out.  

 

A good way to break the ice is for you to bring her mother a special challah for Shabbat. Hopefully she will invite you in for a moment. Take a look around. Assess what you think might be unusual. Do your best to engage her in conversation. Be sure to tell her what a joy it is to have her daughter by you. Then ask her, “Don’t you miss her when she’s not home?”  Listen to her answer.  

 

If you detect something afoul, call SBH. If you think they’re just eccentric and have their own ways of doing things, then grin and bear it.  

 

It could be serious, it could be unusual, and it could just be your good bonus.
 

Jido