Lessons on Joy from a 3-year-old
She wasn't a pretty baby. She had dark, round eyes like saucers - much too big for her little face - and a full head of dark brown hair that spiked upwards and outwards - like porcupine quills. But oh! how she grew into her face! By the time she was two Tali - my granddaughter - was stunningly beautiful. She still had the huge, dark eyes, but by then they were proportionate, framed by her ridiculously thick, dark eyelashes. Her long hair cascaded over her shoulders, sometimes falling over one eye, and her cheeks were always slightly flushed. She bore a greater resemblance to her older brother, Amir, than she did to her twin brother, Noam. One day I will explain to my grandsons how their sister grew from being a typical, lovable little girl into a mature, confident, courageous and inspiring child who knew instinctively how to live joyfully. She had - at age three - been diagnosed with brain cancer, and endured the horrors of chemotherapy and stem cell transplantation. Yet through it all there were countless moments of laughter ... moments of playfulness ... moments of silliness … and heartwarming moments of quiet intimacy that soothed my frightened soul. Tali loved to assume a leadership role in our relationship, and took every opportunity to show me how to perform tasks that I would pretend were difficult for me. As she guided me along she would offer words of encouragement: "Good job, Granny.” “I know you can do it.” And when she tired of being my teacher we would sing. We had our own repertoire of children's songs that we would sing together, ...
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A Centenarian Birthday Celebration
Last week I had the distinct privilege of attending a centenarian birthday celebration, as my  remarkable mother-in-law, Rose Gould (see “My Mother-in-law - My Inspiration”) turned 100 years of age.  Since few people reach this milestone, it was a rare opportunity - although, having said that, I might add that my former mother-in-law lived to the age of 103, and her name was also Rose! The celebration was an incredible event – magnificently orchestrated by her granddaughter – my step daughter - Staci Gould, who (aged mid-40's) lives with Rose in a retirement community in order that Rose may continue to live independently ...this despite the fact that Staci was recently married and has made the unselfish choice to continue to live apart from her spouse and remain with Rose, rather than have her grandmother move into to an assisted living situation.   The Setting Staci left no stone unturned in ensuring the enormous success of this tribute to her beloved grandmother. She invited over 100 people which included family from across the North American continent, Rose’s friends from her community and Staci’s own friends, most of whom have known Rose for many years, and love her dearly.  The affair was held in a beautiful venue with floor-to-ceiling glass walls all around. It was catered, and in a prominent spot, surrounded by rose petals, was a three-tiered cake - each tier adorned with edible pictures of Rose and her late husband Al at various stages of their lives. The centerpiece on each table also included photographs of Rose`s life.               The DJ –an older gentleman - was entirely familiar with the music so popular in my mother-in-law’s ...
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