Dear Shaina,

You do a pretty amazing job of behaving as if you are “seamlessly falling back into your routines.” Maybe you just keep your feelings hidden, especially around me. I expected your coming home and leaving so quickly thereafter to be difficult and stressful for both of us, but none of that happened. You had a load of things to do, and you did them all.

I was amazed at your discipline and apparent focus. It doesn’t surprise me that you are able to function despite your disorientation and sleep deprivation. I also know it will take a while until you really feel like you have landed and an even longer time to feel at home.

Finding home takes longer than we ever think it will. I am sitting on my chaise lounge in our newly redone bedroom, the same chaise lounge that has been with me since my early adulthood in Cleveland. It was the first real piece of furniture I ever bought, a major splurge at the time. It has lived in all my homes, has been transformed by new upholstery and has traveled from living room to bedroom to basement den and now to its new place in our bedroom. I think it has finally found its home…after 30-plus years. I am sitting on it and enjoying the light from the window and the fresh paint smell as I take in the comfort of this new oasis. I am also finally at home in this room.

It’s not that I wasn’t at home in this room. It’s just that the gradual tweaking and adjusting evolves over time. Kind of like getting into bed at night—you plop down and then you adjust your pillow because it doesn’t feel like it’s in exactly the right spot and you move your body around until you get into a comfortable position and you’re still not done. The process continues as you adjust your environment, almost unconsciously, in response to the cues your body is sending—if you’re listening, that is. The knowing and blending and balancing of the internal and external is forever.

You have the gift of both listening and responding to your comfort cues. Berkeley may not be the perfect home for you forever, but I know you will tweak all that can be tweaked to make it as much home for you as possible.

This year we got to celebrate Rosh Hashanah with you as you began a new chapter of your life. I am glad that I was able to do my part to help you settle into your new home. I pray that this new year will be filled with good health, abundant happiness and continuing success in all your endeavors.

I have been doing some baking for the holidays and decided to make Naomi’s chocolate streusel bars. They are a perfect dessert for breaking the Yom Kippur fast, a smooth chocolate-y middle surrounded by crunchy, nutty crust. I am sharing the recipe here because people keep asking for it. I am sorry I didn’t have room to bring them to you, but I hope you will make some in your kitchen.