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He often can’t tell you his name, but today he could sing most of the words to O Tannenbaum. Grateful that music remains a connector in our lives.

Also, for Christmas this year, Mom got him a book of train stories and read the Little Red Caboose to him (which he used to read to me). He can still say the tag line along with her. Amazing how happy such a tiny little thing can make us.

This holiday, I hope you’re all able, amidst the chaos of crazy expectations and fraught family dynamics, to find a couple little moments to hold onto and remember why you love each other. Whether your tradition is singing O Tannenbaum, or drilling holes into the trunk of the tree to glue in more branches so it looks less sorry, or looking for the almond hidden in the rice pudding and secretly passing it to one of the kids amongst you so they win the prize, or eating latkes in honor of a Jewish friend who passed away on Christmas day (or, like me, all of the above), keep doing it in whatever way you’re still able, and let the warmth sustain you over the rest of winter.