My family is Jewish and when I was young, we played with the dreidel , received small gifts each of the eight nights as well as Chanukah gelt (Yiddish term for money) in the form of gold foiled chocolates. We also lit the candles on the menorah each night. as a remembrance of the rededication of the Holy Temple when the Maccabean Jews reclaimed the Temple in Jerusalem in a revolt against the Syrian-Greeks in the second century b.c The miracle of the Jewish holiday, Chanukah, was that only one oil lamp with enough oil for one day was found when cleaning the Temple. The lamp stayed lit for 8 days and we honor this miracle each year by lighting the menorah at 8 days at sunset with the number of candles reminding us of the 8 day miracle.
As a child, my family lived in a community where the majority of friends and neighbors were Christian, we also hung a sock on the mantel so Chanukah Charlie would visit us on Christmas eve. No tree, though – that was too much. As an adult, I never felt terribly connected to the holidays – though the vacation days were always a welcome gift.
Now, I need a balance of time during the interlude of holiday break. Most years, we celebrate Thanksgiving with my family and Christmas with my husband’s family. Circumstances and low energy kept us from spending the long turkey weekend with my family this year. But it was wonderful having just my husband and I together with our own family dinner.
This weekend I planned to join my husband and travel to his mom’s where the family of all ages will celebrate. For reasons that I won’t mentioned, I am now staying home and enjoying my dogs and my house. My mom and brother are flying in next week so I will finally spend some quality time with them.
I was single until 50 and always enjoyed my solitude. This weekend, I am going to make the very best of ‘me’ time. I’m going to stay up late, sleep in, cook, and piddle around the house. The anger that festered the last couple of days subsided and I’m mindful of how blessed I am to have loved ones supporting and respecting my needs.
Maybe I’ll have a miracle of my own and find my menorah that seems to have disappeared after one too many moves.
Regardless of faith, interest, and circumstances – whether surrounded by loved ones or relaxing alone – appreciate yourself, take time to reflect on all the wonders of life.