If you haven't met this blogger yet, you might want to reconsider: I just read her latest post, and it left me thoughtful. And appreciating what a doctor has to do, in the face of a patient's need.
But I digress. (go, digress. I'll wait.)
I cannot help but muse: one of these years is not, thank heavens, like the other. This time last year, I was wrapping up homemade yumminess for the boys' teachers. It was chocolate chip granola bars last year, and the bittersweetness, the splintering care to teach the Toddles to say thank you, even to the teachers who'd tried, but ultimately failed him. "That was good, the Toddles told me." And, picking my way between pride and sadness, I agreed.
But now, I think: kid, we had no idea.
That was my kid at the Chanuka celebration last week, you know. Mine, shoveling in potato and applesauce with the rest of the pack, singing the funny verses to I Have A Little Dreidel, and thankfully, without the potty humor. Mine. And absolutely, positively safe in a roomful of munching, belly-filling kids. Because the food is safe.
Because the teachers - and the school - gets it.
So, this year we said thank you again, and we did it in style, baby. We did it with sparklies.
And nobody splintered - but my heart was very, very full. For this, as for so much else, I give thanks. Except, possibly, first thing in the morning, when I realize that I have to get the kids out of the house and to the car, and for some reason, this is going to take well over an hour and all of my patience.
But yes, we gave thanks. The Eldest, to nobody's surprise, muttered something about basketball until I mentioned that we could use stone beads. The kid loves stones, filling his pockets with the muddiest he can find, certain that each is enormously valuable and beautiful. He rummaged happily among the stones, and started jamming them on. Um. Not that he shouldn't do it his way, but, well -
I handed him a printout about Morse code. Design, I told him, is code. Sometimes the message is a feeling, or an idea. Sometimes, it's literally words.
And the kid took me up on it. He designed an organdy and cord necklace of unakite, jasper and hematite, of which the stones made perfect sense for my young miner-in-training, but the ribbon was an unexpected touch. And a nice one. And he arranged the stones in a code, to spell out his teacher's name.
And so, we gave thanks. You know, the Toddles' teacher whispered, fingering her necklace, just getting to have him in the classroom is thanks enough. My throat filled, swelling with old splinters and newer joys. I couldn't get the words out to tell her that she was absolutely right.
This year, it feels as if we'd lit our menorah in the midst of memories of desecration and betrayal, hopeful but not letting ourselves rest on that hope. And slept, only to wake and find it still burning, ruthlessly pushing us past sharp memory and into what comes next.
Wishing you all a season of light, joy and shared tables.