As I light the Hanukkiyot, or Hanukkah candles with my husband for the first time since my children have grown, I am reminded of all the Hanukkah memories of happy times we shared with our children. The tradition of lighting the candles in Menorahs both old and new was of special meaning to me and watching my children’s eyes grow brighter with each night of Hanukkah, as if the miracle of the holiday was actually inside them, is something I will always cherish.
As my children grew, new traditions grew with them. Nightly dreidel games where we would play, and laugh, and enjoy each other, no matter how hard our day had been, Hanukkah story time where each night for the eight nights of Hanukkah we would share a traditional story. All snuggled up on the sofa, “The Very Best Hanukkah Gift,” by Cherie Karo Schwartz, was my youngest daughter’s favorite, and therefore is still mine as well. I can hear in my mind my middle daughter singing to the music on our Hanukkah tapes, oh how beautiful her voice, and how much more lovely it sounded with each passing year. First as an innocent, sweet voice singing along to a simple melody, then as a young women sharing the music, its meaning and joy. And the latkes, I made so many latkes! Potato latkes sweet potato latkes, apple latkes, all fried in that big fry pan I got just for latkes. One year I even made zucchini latkes! Everyone was very polite about those, especially my husband!
So, this year, as I light the Hanukkah candles with my husband for the first time since my children have grown, I will be filled with the miracle of the season in a uniquely different way: The light of the menorah, as seen through my children’s eyes, the thrill of spinning the gimmel as felt by my son; the enchanting sounds of the music, as sung by my little girl; the warmth of the hugs and stories, so treasured by my baby; and, of course, the smells and flavors of the foods so relished by my husband. The cherished memories of holiday’s past, perhaps that is the truest miracle is of all.