by Tania Hassan (Gilbraltar)
It will be kibbud av va’em,
I tell myself before leaving the little ones behind.
I fly the 9 hours to gain some eternity.
My oldest friend picks me up at the airport. It’s been ten years.
Shehecheyanu – for keeping me alive.
I walk out into the pouring rain,
I bless it.
Inhaling the sweet smell of wet cedar and grass into every pore of my being,
We duck into a tiny coffee shop in a Montreal alleyway.
Rich, thick and nutty, that latte goes down like
Abuela’s autumn bean soup.
Vekiyemanu – for sustaining me.
We pass the steel moose cut-outs at every major intersection,
I stop for the requisite selfies.
Later I reflect on the expression on my face;
The way my smile reaches the whites of my eyes.
I embrace my parents,
My father’s Ralph Lauren aftershave,
The nephews I never met.
I never noticed their scattered freckles on FaceTime.
Vehigiyanu Laz’man Hazeh – for bringing me to this season in my life.
I laugh with brothers. Hearty guffaws we have to stifle with anyone else.
The boundaries fade away and I am 13 again.
Honouring my parents is easy when my husband is neatly tucked away at home,
meals prepared in the freezer, and I’m sleeping in my childhood bed.
The baby weight I just about lost,
Was greedily piled back on as my palate stopped pretending it was a cultured European.
Though the height of kavod/honour would have me preparing Shabbat for my parents,
I took a back seat and allowed my mother to serve her traditional Morroccan feasts
Honey and cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, and all the love you could cram into five days and nights..
Filling my heart with home.
Five days and not a day longer.
Baruch – A blessing.