I almost skipped Hanukkah this year. It was kind of like the Kranks skipping Christmas, in that mercurial John Grisham novel turned movie, with a cranky Tim Allen and an overbaked Jamie Lee Curtis. Of course, for them they had a tropical vacation waiting on them, while I was just going to skip Hanukkah because this year is just weighing on me.
We started celebrating the holiday ten years ago, and my little girl was fascinated by the lights. It’s our thing–me and the firstborn–that we follow through with every year, just the two of us. I taught her the prayers and sayings, and she’s gotten quite adept at setting up the electric menorah and hiding the dreidels. But she hadn’t seemed interested in continuing our tradition this year.
Until today. My wife brought it up innocuously enough, with a question about when we were going to put up the Hanukkah accoutrements. “It’s the third night already,” I told her without looking up. “Wait, dad, aren’t we going to put up the Hanukkah stuff?” Lexi asked me. Suddenly, I was energized. “You really still want to do this with me?” I asked. She nodded. “It’s our thing,” she said.
I told myself I wouldn’t cry, but I came pretty close as I gathered the Hanukkah items from the basement and we got to work, as we’ve done for ten years now. Lexi went around hiding the dreidels, I extracted the new menorah and put it above the sink, and as I lit the candles and we said the prayer it just felt right.