It looks like Judah Maccabee threw up in my dining room. And I love it. Dreidels hang from the ceiling, menorahs are fully candled, Hanukkah is here. Hanukkah crafts my kids made in preschool are all over the floor, each with a memory they can still recall. Such beauty, so much history, family bonding, but these are the nights I mourn the dream. The dream of the family unit. Me and their dad trying to make Hanukkah sound like something better than a poor man’s Christmas. (No, really kids, 8 days of Hanukkah are better than the all-month blitz of Christmas-O-Rama you’re currently experiencing.) Mom and Dad, drinking wine (or Blue Moon, with a slice of orange) watching the kids put up decorations that were solely created to legitimize our holiday to the secular world. (Guys, Hanukkah is the Festival of Lights … everyone else stole the idea to put up lights … really.) Mom and Dad teaching and building the family we wanted, creating memories. The operative words in the last few sentences are “Mom and Dad.” The kids seem totally unaffected as they put candles in the menorahs, sneak chocolate gelt, and stick stars of David to the front door. But I’m alone. It’s only me loving all of this. It would be so much more fun if someone else was here to see how cute they are, how happy they are, how perfect this is. But it’s not perfect, for me. I don’t miss their dad, he sucked. But moments like this are meant to be shared, enjoyed together, relished. I enjoy, I relish, but it ends with me and now you. Thanks for letting me share it with you. This is divorce. It’s true what everyone told me. No one else will love your kids or want to be with them like their biological parents. So, I have to accept enjoying these moments alone. Acceptance feels exhausting, but fine, I surrender. I accept, but I don’t like it. It’s less fun. So here’s the trick, how do you make it “closer to perfect”? Obviously it’ll never be perfect, (or my idea of perfect) and I realize most married couples holidays aren’t “perfect” but how do I get closer now that we are so broken?
I had to take a break from writing here as my kids came to sit with me on the couch where I was blogging and watching them decorate. Then, like a Hanukkah miracle, they answered my question that I wrote only two sentences ago. My oldest put on music, we all jumped on the couch and had a dance party. My son taunted his sisters about knowing what their big present was and not telling them, my youngest did the same thing back to him, and I threatened them all that if they tell each other, none of them get anything!
Wait a minute … that sounds like a pretty typical family holiday. Beer, decorations, dancing, children taunting each other and at least one parent threatening all of them. Yup, Happy Perfect Hanukkah.