Object Dar't

November 27, 2013

The Art of Latkes....

For two weeks, I have been racking my brain what to get Tom and Reva for a Chanukah gift. With every store that I hit, I just couldn’t find anything that seemed appropriate. Tom and Reva are rare people so you can’t just buy them a Snuggie and expect that it would do the relationship justice. These are the kind of people who deserve nothing but the most astounding of gifts. And for good reason.
Two years ago, I fled my home as a result of a domestic violence incident in the midst of what has been a horrific divorce. Tom and Reva took me AND my three children into their fold. Not only did we live with them for almost an entire year, but they immediately (and instinctively) took on the role of grandparents for my children. They also took on the role of Mom, Dad, friend, protector, adviser and cheerleader for me; all at a time when the 4 of us were at our most vulnerable and frankly - messy. And they barely knew us. It has turned out, bar none, to be the most profound experience of what human beings can truly be to each other. Together, we forged ourselves into the whole and loving family that I’d intended when I gave birth to my first child. And it is the sole responsibility of Tom and Reva because without them, we would not be as we are now.
For those of you who don’t know Tom and Reva, let me introduce you.
Aren't they beautiful?
Reva is a computer professional with a brain that’s sharper than a razor. Even at 60 something, she on top of her game. But that’s such a teeny part of her. She is a breathtaking tapestry; earthy, utterly kind but doesn’t take any bunk, so deeply thoughtful about the human condition and what others are experiencing, so willing to see the positives in others, celebratory of life and thoughtful of death, fully accepting of others, a whiz with money, an AMAZING mother and a tireless volunteer for whatever she believes in. For 2 years, she has volunteered her time and energy to bringing a fiber optic network to Western Mass through Wired West. That fight probably has several more years to it even. And yet, not once was she ever too busy to nurse my internal wounds or spend time with my kids or whip up a wonderful dinner for all of us. She truly humbles me and I mean this from the bottom of my toes – I hope someday I am just like her.   
Tom is a fellow artist – his art is photography. He has the tender soul and unusual world-eye-view that all artists possess. He is a little slip of a teddy bear that wears the funniest hats, the boldest/brightest shirts and a habit of shuffling around in his slippers like a little kid. He has in his life been a pacifist, a conscientious objector who has admittedly spent time in the “pokey”, a stay-at-home Dad, a teacher of sorts and a lumber yard worker. And like Reva, he is a tireless volunteer for the things he believes in. He is a man who will without a moment’s hesitation or question, give you the shirt off his back. And he is absolutely my partner in crime. If you pick up a banana and answer it like a phone then tell him, “it’s for you!”, he is the only person I know who will take the call and have an entire (and FUNNY!) conversation with the imaginary person on the other line. But my favorite thing about him is his dancing. You can’t help but be in awe then. He completely diverts from any “standard operating procedure” and dances with a wild abandon that I’ve never seen before. So much so that you can’t even tell if he’s on beat! But it doesn’t matter one lick because that beautiful child within him refuses to be contained when music is present. And all you can do is watch, riveted and smiling from the inside out. It’s a joy to behold another human being so happy, so free. It goes right to your core.
The dancing man!
So you can see why no ordinary present would do for Chanukah. My solution; this post is my present. My Chanukah present to you Tom and Reva is that the whole world should know what utterly amazing human beings you are. That you be celebrated loudly. I have no clue at all how I got so lucky but there isn’t a moment that I draw breath that I don’t give great thanks for the two of you. You took an almost broken woman and her 3 hurting cubs and not only turned them into happy, healed people but you gave them the gift of a FAMILY. You are in fact the reason I believe in good people.
ALL my love now and forever….now let's eat some of your yummy latkes!  

My Chanukah gift to readers is simple: I hope you too stumble upon people like Tom and Reva. I hope you find good, loving strangers who catch you when you stumble or fall because these are the people who will add to your life - not subtract. Happy Chanukah!