The Persian Version

Reza shares the emotions behind the Shabbat dinner and his reconciliation with his dad.

Apr 6, 2012 Can you talk a little bit about your relationship with your mom?
Reza: My mom is really an amazing woman. She has always been very progressive for who she is and where she's from, so I've been truly blessed to have someone with such an open mind and open heart as my mother. Whereas she could have really been very prehistoric and archaic in her thinking and her mindset, I've been really blessed. And we are very much alike -- we are both emotional and we both are sentimental. We had been talking a few days before, and I asked her to bring over some of these old photos that I hadn't seen in a million years. And one thing led to another and we were going through these photos, and it was like an account of my family, my parents, and when I came along and then a floodgate opened and I just lost it. And your parents haven’t talked since they got divorced?
Reza: You could probably count the number of times they've talked on one hand and never for more than a couple of minutes at a time, and under extreme circumstances. So going in to the trip to New York, how nervous were you?
Reza: I was incredibly nervous just because a year had gone by, I hadn't spoken to my dad. A lot of my close family and friends were really pushing me to confront him and deal with issues that I had, and for some reason, it hadn't marinated long enough in my brain. I needed more time to process it. I wasn't able to talk about it. And it came to a head and I decided to reach out. Actually he called me for my birthday and I decided, "You know what? It's now or never."

But what made it even worse? And made me even more nervous? He literally was like at the end of the conversation, "Listen, I don't mean to freak you out, but I just want to let you know that your grandmother is going to be here. She's living here now, so she's going to be at this dinner." That threw me into a whole new level of nervous, anticipation, anxiety, just every kind of emotion you could think of -- because now not only am I dealing with my dad and the year that we haven't spoken, but now I have her that I now have to deal with.