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Meet Sender, a surgeon, and Antoine, a real estate investment analyst

18 Dec 2020

This past year has been a challenging one for Dr. Sender Liberman, a surgical oncologist, his partner Antoine Saker, a specialist in real estate investment analysis, and their two young children, Noa and Jonah.

“In March and April when we were really uncertain about what was safe, what was risky, and how things were transmitted, it was quite stressful,” Sender admits. Working at the hospital, he had to take every precaution in order to keep his loved ones safe. “We kind of split the house,” he explains. “I showered in the basement on my way home from work and we even talked about moving me to a hotel for a while in case things got out of hand and for the safety of our family. It never really got to that, especially when we realized this was going to be a long haul and not a short sprint. We just found ways to cope and deal, and it’s actually worked out ok,” he says. 

The couple’s ability to grapple with the situation and adapt to all the changes has made one thing very apparent. “My partner and I are a great team,” Antoine says. “Knowing what a difficult year this has been for so many, I was very thankful that we get along pretty well as a family. […] Without a doubt, one positive impact was the bond we all made so that we could weather this storm together. I have learned that being with my family on a macro level, and loving them daily on a micro level, made the days a lot more pleasant in these unpleasant times.” Sender completely agrees. “This actually brought us all even closer together,” he adds.

One of the difficulties Antoine and Sender had to overcome was keeping Noa, who is five, and Jonah, who is almost two, occupied during the day while school and day care were closed. Antoine, who normally works from home, confesses that at times, he felt a bit like a referee as he settled disagreements over snatched toys.

Together, however, the couple was able to find activities to keep the children busy, like watching movies and rediscovering how to safely and carefully visit the park. Antoine notes that having Noa and Jonah with them during this challenging period helped to break up its monotony. “The days all felt the same, but their presence made each day different. Despite the headaches and yelling, they made this difficult time pass much faster than I imagined,” he says affectionately.   

With the end of 2020 in sight, the family is now looking forward to the holidays. While Sender explains that it will be quieter than in previous years, they will still be able to keep the season fun and festive. Being a multi-faith home, they celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas and enjoy lighting candles, exchanging gifts, decorating the Christmas tree, and eating lots of delicious food.

Since the birth of their daughter, they’ve made a tradition of making latkes, Jewish potato pancakes. “Some years are a good batch. Others are a fail,” Antoine says good-humouredly. “The kids have a good time and that’s what matters most.”