They come in many forms — obvious, in disguise, and usually apparent after something devastating, so we can find peace in certain situations. Here are a couple of my blessings (both in disguise and obvious) that I have come to appreciate.
Blessing #1: I may have the face of my mother but everything else about me came from my Jewish half — starting with my breasts. One would think that my curves should be from my Mexican side but they actually hail from the Kassap-Bellis side of the family.
Skipping two generations, I have inherited the rack of my Great-Grandma Rose in all of its smothering glory. It’s kind of a cruel joke. I remember praying so hard for these fun bags in true Judy Blume fashion during my pre-pubescent years, and it’s like someone told them to just grow until I tipped over. The photo to the right, taken at a fundraiser last year, is a prime example. A year later, the staff and volunteers from that event are still talking about how much I filled out that dress.
At a recent bra fitting, the nice girl helping me kindly pointed out that my 36E (which I always thought fit me) was much too small for my frame. I cried. When I got home and my dad asked how the shopping trip went? I showed him my $400 worth of 34H bras, to which he asked:
Did they have to sing the alphabet song to get to the cup size?
So. Not. Funny.
If my grandma Audrey (for whom I am named) were alive, she would have pinched my tuchus and said in her nasally Brooklyn accent:“Shayna maidel, it’s better to have them than not.” Clearly, she was one of the generations that got skipped.
But, there were blessings from my bosom. A year and a half ago, at the age of 25, I discovered my first lump and had my first mammogram. I thought it was just my underwire poking me. In a fed up visit to the doctor to discuss reduction options, and explaining my beef with the bras, I was told that the tender bruise near my armpit was not actually a bruise but rather a lump. Had it not been for that pesky underwire, I likely would never have noticed it. Life-saving blessing in disguise.
Blessing #2: My height. This is such a Bellis trait. I’m officially the shortest person in our family (on both sides). I claim 5’2 on a good day — with big hair. The reality is I’m just a little over 5’1 but I find that number too depressing to admit, so I round up.
Another trait that one might assume would hail from the Mexican side but no — my maternal grandma and mom’s siblings are all 5’9 and up (including the women). And while I have never had a pair of pants that didn’t need to be hemmed, I am at least quite the expert in walking in heels and wear them daily. Plus, men are almost always taller than me, while I have family members who can’t wear heels or they’ll be taller than their husbands.
Blessing #3: My personality. I may come in a small package but I’m a lot of spunk wrapped up with a whole lot of sass. My dad’s side of the family are definitely the entrepreneurs, the inquisitors, the ones to challenge and innovate, and I am that in a nutshell. My parents commonly refer to me as the family bulldog because I’m always the one to step in and take care of issues when they arise. I keep a level head in a crisis and see falling down as nothing more than an opportunity to get back up. It’s a tenacity that has saved me more times than I can count.
What personality traits, physical characteristics, and quirks have you picked up or inherited from your Jewish relatives? How have they turned out to be blessings for you?