Thursday, March 21, 2013

Prelude to Pessach II

Every morning as we walk to Gan, Raphaela and I pass by our neighbors beautifully manicured garden, and we look at the colorful array of flowers:  snap dragons, pansies and daisies.  Particularly on Friday, when the Shabbat flower seller sets up at the corner of our house, Raphaela marvels at all the choice of flowers, and carefully chooses what shall adorn our house for the week.

Usually it is lilies or roses, last week it was violets and today she chose daisies.  It was my grandmother who carefully tended her garden, her bird feeders and her squirrel feeders, she taught me the name of all those flowers while I helped her pull weeds and trim the rose bushes.

I don't know what moved me today, watching Raphaela embrace her life with such joy and simplicity, preparing for Pessach, or simply enjoying a cup of coffee and a piece of cake at the bakery on Palmach on a sunny Jerusalem morning.  I think maybe it was me, taking stock of my life and realizing how lucky I am, how blessed.  I think it also started with memories of childhood Pessach seder at my grandparents' house, the whole family (almost 25 people and one bathroom!) crowding into their New England colonial to celebrate together;  the boy grandchildren in the basement, arranged like a dormitory, the girls in the den upstairs, all our family and guests at the seder.  My grandmother's fantastic cooking, with baked goods so delicious that you could not imagine it was allowed on the holiday.

I know that it is me remembering my grandmother, my surrogate mother during many difficult periods in my life, and me missing my grandmother that made me all of a sudden start crying as I carried my groceries home.  Her presence has been overwhelming me all day.

I miss my Bubby, I am sad that Raphaela will never have the chance to know her and read with her the way I did. I think they would have gotten along like long lost sisters, cooking together in the kitchen or gardening or discussing art and music;  my Bubby even managed to make banal errands like the post office or the supermarket an adventure.  I am sad that Raphaela will not have the opportunity to bond with her family in cramped quarters over the Pessach seder.

I wonder what she would think of my life, and the child who amazes me and brings me joy every day.

 I regret that I never fulfilled a secret dream, to send my grandmother tickets to Italy and to take her on vacation; she worked so hard in life, barely slept, and suffered so much as a child, and she deserved to be treated like a princess if only for a short while.

Chag Sameach Bubby, I know that you are happy where ever your soul may be, and I know that you are free.

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