The year our father left, I’d thrash around on my big sister’s shaggy blue carpet at bedtime, pretending I’d fallen overboard. Melanie would hoist me into the lower bunk, singing as I dozed off. Our rescue game turned real one winter’s day at the bus stop. I bent to pack a snowball. When I stood — smack! — I was hit in the face by Melanie’s own icy projectile. Stunned, I began running, then fainted. Melanie started mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and then carried me home. Our father never returned. But my sister is still here, healing life’s harshest wounds, breathing joy into my everyday. — Jodie Sadowsky

Our children are doing daily “mitzvahs,” or good deeds, for the Hanukkah-Christmas season. Every night, they pull index cards with suggestions out of an envelope. One night, our 7-year-old’s mitzvah was: “Send someone you love a card in the mail.” Although he was supposed to send the card to someone he didn’t live with, he insisted on sending it to me because he had “something important” to tell me. I said OK, we’ll mail it to my office. A few days later I received a card at work that said, “I love you mommy. Your one of my favorite people.” — Nora Gomez-Strauss

In the eight months we were together, we experienced unemployment, deaths of friends and family, global protests for racial justice, a national election, an insurrection at the Capitol — and a pandemic. He once said to me, “The older we get, the harder it is to find a partner: Not only

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