I had a beautiful weekend that represented many things…
I was my turn to prepare the first night of Chanukah dinner this year for the whole family. It is quite an International melting pot, to say the least. Tunisian, Israeli, French, American, and even a little Moroccan, that’s a lot of FLAVOR! I have always loved different cultures, especially when its love that brings them all together.
I have to admit that it has been a VERY dramatic week in our family. Everyone goes through his or her stuff and it was nothing out of the soap opera norm, well maybe this week could have taken the best dramatic mini series award. The details are unimportant, we considered canceling our family tradition because of the emotional state some of us were in. I realized that no matter what comes up, no matter how much drama one family can create, and no matter how hard some days are to get through, what matters most is a family sticking together and the love that exudes from that unity. I was not going to cancel our family plans, instead I was committed to sticking together and overcoming the crap that was brewing that week. I am known to get stuck in emotions and let them take over. I am trying something different, I have to because there is so much to fight for in my family. Following your heart is not always the easiest, especially when your head is going the other direction. But, my heart is bigger so it kept me in the right place.
I started prepping Thursday night and spent much of Friday cooking my meal. Kosher market, special butchers, fresh produce, Chanukah toys, traditional dishes, etc. I poured more love into that meal than I can remember doing and it REALLY paid off.
My girls marinated the meat!
I totally set the mood, candles, music, wine, small fun gifts for the kids to exchange, home made chanukias, and LOTS of love. We went to the Temple at Rain’s school for a concert and to watch her perform with her classmates. It was so adorable watching the kids dance and sing.
We came home and enjoyed an amazing meal, great company, and lots of laughter. Something was different that night in my home. Maybe it was the coming down from an emotionally exhausting week, maybe it was the fact that we were all so appreciative to be together and have a family that we can count on, or maybe it was just the love that was flowing in the room.
My big girls were with their father, and they were totally missed. Seems that the holidays in my life have always been missing something, my father, a sibling, too many family members to be in the same state, etc. But this year, everyone that shared my Chanukah dinner made up for something.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the stress of the season. Holidays can be so tough for many people. Try forcing yourself to focus on the positive parts and the blessings that you have. We have many, even though they may be hard to find.
I realized what an important ingredient love is when you are cooking, or making anything really. I plan to do it again Christmas Eve. I’ll be spending 2 weeks with all my kids. That’s special for us because usually our time is split between 2 homes and they never get enough of each other. I am really looking forward to it. The holidays create lasting memories. I am making sure this season is one to remember.