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Posts Tagged ‘Happy Hollidays’

Really? In what universe does it feel like Christmas? As the pandemic rages on it laughs in our faces every time we even think about getting the Christmas Spirit. And, for my Jewish family & friends Hanukkah isn’t fairing any better. I just read a headline that said, “Parts of Ontario are literally colder than Antarctica today”, and whispers of “Polar Vortex” are popping up on the Weather Network. So, yeah, baby it’s cold outside! It definitely makes it hard to warm the cockles of your heart. I think it’s safe to say that people are struggling to have “Happy Holidays”.

I confess I had joined the masses, wallowing in despair over being deprived of the company of people who wouldn’t bother with me any other time of year and really just happened to be at the same event. Then there’s the usual nervous breakdown from trying to navigate the crowded shopping malls for that perfect gift that won’t be perfect no matter what, while trying not to get knocked on my butt by some bruiser with his head in his phone. Oh yes. Fond memories. “Had” is the key word in this tale. But things turned around rather quickly a few days ago when my sister sent me a photo. This simple photo got me out of bed (at around four in the afternoon — I wasn’t kidding about the wallowing part) and put a smile on my face that will carry me through the Holidays.

Thirty-six years ago we were blessed to meet the first female child born in our family in quite some time. We were all excited about all the “girly” things this would mean. Hinda was born in June, which gave us about six months to negotiate our way through her first Hanukkah and Christmas. I felt it was really important for me to learn, understand and respect the Jewish traditions this new bundle of joy would be raised with. At the same time, she would be learning about our Christmas traditions. I was determined that her first Christmas gift from me would be something she would want to have forever and perhaps pass down to her daughter. (I know, He-Who often wonders how I come up with this stuff.) It took me almost the whole six months — and a lot of blood, sweat and tears, as I struggled on an antique sewing machine I had inherited — to complete the task. This was the final result.

The doll was bigger than Hinda at the time. It had fingers, toes, dimples, a bum and even a belly button which I made sure every one knew about (by constantly undressing her). Her eyes were embroidered. She had bloomers, socks, booties, a dress and an apron. All hand made by me. I was so proud of it and couldn’t wait to give it to her. This is the only picture I have of the event.

She really didn’t seem all that impressed, did she? (Don’t even ask about that hat I’m wearing!) It had been years since I thought of that doll. Then, at the end of this past August, I received a picture from Hinda that brought me to tears (of joy).

Apparently, Hinda’s daughter Klara found the doll at Bubbie’s house. She put a seatbelt on her in the car and took her home to read her stories. Last I heard she was being called “Matilda”.

Although that picture made me so very happy, it was not the one that turned things around for me. I had made a living as a photographer for 20+ years then transitioned into television production. I should know by now that one photograph does not tell the whole story. The one that does tell the story captures the perfect moment better than the rest. This is what my sister sent me.

Joy! Pure joy! Hinda gave me the reaction I longed for that Christmas, and this was my reaction to Hinda! I don’t think I have ever seen me look happier. To me, as technically awkward as this photo might be, it’s the perfect photo because it captures the true Christmas spirit. I smile every time I look at it. Thank you to my sister Lu for sending me this. It feels like Christmas.

I hope all of you can find a way to capture that joy this Holiday Season, whether you celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah (or a special time that I’m less familiar with). Happy Holidays!

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