Hannukah did not go exactly as planned, this year. Normally we pull out the Hannukiah and have candles for it, and we do it all properly and let the candles burn down each night. This year, though I asked, no one was able to get me Hannukah candles. I felt thwarted, and almost gave up, but then I realized that if Jewish men and women could find a way to celebrate Hannukah in a concentration camp with NO candles, then I could surely manage to do so in my candle-filled home. The end result you can see above.
Was it perfect? No... I didn't let the tea candles burn for hours each night as I only had eight of them and once they were gone they were gone. So I re-enacted the miracle of Hannukah by lighting my candles and being surprised that yes, they did last the full 8 days. In a way, it was extremely meaningful. On a personal level, it was brimming with emotion for me.
This year, the kids were not involved in my Hannukah celebrations. I chose to light the candles alone in my room, and I did them late at night after everyone was in bed, which is far from traditional (it's supposed to be done at sundown). However, by doing it that way, I had privacy and I was relaxed, and ready... instead of rushing or stressed or upset.
I spoke the traditional Hebrew prayers, then an English translation of the Hebrew. Then I just... basked in the light. I tried to feel the miracle of the oil lasting for 8 days. I tried to pull in the light of God to my soul. If it were summer and daytime, I'd have been sun worshiping.
The last night, which was Wednesday evening, was sort of bitter sweet. Gray was in the bedroom with me, and as I lit the last candle and looked at it, I sat down to talk with him. We reminisced about the last day of Hannukah 2009, when he was employed in a great job, making enough money, and we went to Washington, DC for his company Christmas party. We were snowed into our hotel, and had to spend an extra day lounging around in warmth, eating left over Greek take-out and generally just being around one another. It was a very good memory.
I have tried to hold the light this year. I have faltered at times, but I keep getting up. I'm not giving up. I am a light in the darkness.