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February 15th, 2009

February 9

February 9 was my Bubby's (grandmother's) 93rd birthday. She also shared her birthday with her late husband, my Zaida, who was 10 years older. In fact, as she tells the story, their shared birthdays brought them together when she was taken to his optical store to get glasses.

Zaida died on September 1, 1993, just one month in to my year abroad in Jerusalem. I didn't go home for the funeral because I was having trouble finding my footing and my mother feared that I wouldn't go back. She was right.

Instead of being surrounded by my family during my time of grief, I was on my own. Instead of sitting shiva, I went to the wailing wall at night when no one was around. I sat on the ground in the dark and relished the stillness and quiet as I stared at the wall. And in those moments, I knew that I was where I needed to be, and where my Zaida wanted me to be.

I am so grateful to have my Bubby in my life, and in my son's life. Even though my boy is her 10th great-grandchild, I know that she loves him and enjoys his company.

On February 9th, my boy and I had lunch with my Bubby, as well as my Mom and one of my cousins. Afterward, I went back down to my neighbourhood to pick up some groceries with my boy. My grandfather's optical store is still in the same location it was, and still bears his name. On the occasion of Zaida's birthday, I thought I should show my boy his store. Really, it was nothing special, just a small little store with glasses on the wall. Yet my heart swelled as I stood in that small space with my beautiful baby boy in my arms.

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