Ukrainian Springtime Love Song
At my Ukrainian grandmother’s house in Chicago, circa 1970, Easter began right after Christmas. The aroma of burning candle, melting beeswax, vinegar dye and fresh coffee would wake me. Grandma would be sitting at her table, barefoot. In one hand she cradled an egg. In the other, she held a kistka, a wooden stylus dipped in wax. As she painted, Ukrainian flowers bloomed, musical scores played, golden wheat sprouted. Grandma translated her memories of home for me. Ukrainians call these eggs “pysanky,” from “pysaty,” meaning “to write.” And oh, what the Ukrainian grandmothers have written — each and every springtime. — Karen Doornebos
What Grows Old
At the time, it was novel to me — the feeling of being hooked. Any smirk, glance or wry acknowledgment of the game we were playing would loop in my head until we reunited. I wanted her, and I savored it all: small talk that felt so much bigger than the office we sat in; a puff and pass of a homegrown birthday present; short kisses over my car console while not even in park. For two months, I couldn’t sleep. But once she told me (reluctantly) about the other girl in Colorado, it all got so old, so quick. — Michelle Wang
Symbols of Hope
Every 30 or so years, Ramadan and Passover coincide. My mother is Jewish; my father is Muslim. I was conflicted about my seemingly disparate religions, but now, at 50, I fully accept myself. Inshallah, I will be in my 80s when the holidays re-synchronize. This year, I celebrate with a date and a savory samosa. I dip crunchy matzo into sweet haroseth. My two sons, mid-20s, are Bangladeshi Muslims and Ashkenazi Jews. Only recently in their lives have their holidays converged. May we three be symbols of hope, of Muslim-Jewish solidarity. I wish for all humans to live in peace. — Tamara M.C.
‘Run for Him’
I was a preemie, born 14 weeks too soon. Doctors said I might never walk. Every day, my grandfather held me in the NICU, whispering, “Be a fighter.” Thirty years later, when he learned he had cancer, I signed up to run the Boston Marathon for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. We talked before long runs and from post-training ice baths, laughing at the lengthening miles. He died four days before Marathon Monday. My grandmother said, “Run for him.” I did, his photo pinned above my heart for 26.2 miles, from Main Street in Hopkinton to Boylston Street in Boston. — Samantha Facciolo