Because of all the snow yesterday, today was a snow day for the kiddos. Dadam still had to work, but these things cannot be helped. Our first night celebration (last night) was low key and quiet. We said the brachas (blessings), lit candles and ate (un)healthy portions of latkes (fried potato pancakes). There were some presents to open and the kids enjoyed doing that.
Tonight's celebration was also very quiet. Everyone has been working up the courage to hold their own shamash (worker candle). Last year, Talia was holding her own when some of the wax dripped on her hand. For the rest of Chanukah she refused to hold her own candles. I think she forgot that experience, though, because this year she is happily and confidently holding her own shamash AND lighting candles all by herself. Leila was a bit nervous last night, but tonight did it with no hesitation. They are all, healthily, nervous around the fire. But we are trying to give them experiences and confidence to manage it, while still being respectful of its power.
It is so amazing to see them moving from being observers of the practice to practicers of the practice. They are learning so much at school, they sing the brachas with confidence and gusto, they tell the stories and the meanings behind the ritual. I am full of pride and love and hope when I see them living and loving their Judaism. Chag Chanukah Sameach. Happy Chanukah.