Dear Shaina,

It’s strange to hear you reminiscing about slower times. Those times were ever-vanishing moments for me, consumed by back-to-back appointments, evening Board meetings and budget and grant deadlines, with life sandwiched in between it all. I am eternally grateful that Bubbe and Zayde were there to pitch in and slow it down for you with undivided attention and food steeped in onions and garlic.

The clock still ticks away quickly despite the leisurely pace of my life today. I think we’re just wired to pack in as much as possible into every minute, even when we’re relaxing. While on vacation, I knitted five hats, read several books, cooked and volunteered at a homeless shelter and signed up for an introductory five-session Pilates special. We walked for miles daily and visited all our favorite sites. Now, after being away from home for nearly six weeks, all I can think about is my long to-do list before Thanksgiving. There is never enough time.

Today I luxuriously seeded a pomegranate. I cut up some sweet potatoes into small chunks while listening to the news. I chopped and browned onions and washed freshly picked greens that Dad brought home from the farm.

There is nothing like peeling and chopping and dicing to bring you into the present moment. Being in the present is the only thing that slows down time for me. Cooking is my antidote to my self-manufactured too-busy life. It is an indulgence that distracts me from all the things I have to do. I am grateful to Bubbe for sharing her love of cooking and feeding with me…and with you.

It is one of the many things I am grateful for as I prepare for the upcoming Thanksgiving. You are coming home a day early. That will leave us plenty of time to slice and dice and savor the moments together.