Dear Shaina,

I am still absorbing the reality that we can drop you off at the airport in the morning, get a call from you in the evening as you board a plane and wake up the next morning to find a text from you letting us know that you’re having breakfast at Hanoch and Edna’s in Israel. All in a day! The world is too big and so small all at the same time!

You go to Tel Aviv with friends for New Year’s. We have a few friends over and watch football and eat and do a little dancing in the living room, while reminiscing about the New Year’s Eves of our childhoods. Bubbe and Zayde would get all dressed up in fancy clothes and go to a big party with all their friends sponsored by one of the Jewish organizations. They danced all night to live ballroom music and ate and drank like there was no tomorrow. They rang in the New Year with champagne and confetti and those loud paper party blowers. It was the only time of year they left us with a babysitter, and we couldn’t wait to wake up the next morning to see the party hats and favors they brought home for us.

Life has changed for all of us. Parties are quieter and smaller. People are scattered. And now there is New Year’s Eve football—the final blow to my New Year’s fantasy party! The real change is that I am actually enjoying these smaller gatherings with friends.

2016 has arrived with all its hopes and promises. One day you’re having breakfast in my kitchen, the next day you’re eating in Edna’s kitchen. Every day serves up a fresh breakfast with all the adventure and opportunity that a new day brings. I think I am over the big parties, but I am, more than ever, planning to celebrate each new day. The news from Tel Aviv on January 1st was terrible. May 2016 bring a little calm and peace to our world, day by day.

Be safe and enjoy your days in Israel. We will see you soon!