At the Halfway Mark

The Chanukah candles come into focus.

In case you’re wondering how Chanukah is going in our family as we pass the halfway mark, here’s an update:

The #1 son checks out the book he received the first night.

The #1 son has gotten one book so far (“The Best of the Best of Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader”); the #2 son, much to his relief, is bookless. So far!

#2 scores his iPod Touch!

#2 was over the moon at receiving the iPod Touch and immediately downloaded the addictive Jelly Car app on it.

Sad to say (for him), #2 missed out on his present for night #3, because he was rude to me and showed not one speck of remorse. If I had had a big book for him in my gift stash, that’s what he would’ve gotten! I realize that his poor behavior was a direct reaction to the amount of studying he had to do for this week’s finals, but he knows that momma don’t like being yelled at.

#1 struggles with getting the shamash candle back in its holder.

Every year the #1 son has had trouble getting the shamash (helper) candle back in its holder, because he’s afraid the dripping wax will burn his fingers. He struggles with it for a minute or so until I come to the rescue and place the glowing candle safe and sound where it belongs. All while his younger brother laughs at him. This year has been no different.

Both boys light their candles.

The boys have been lighting their own menorahs since they were about seven or eight years old. This year I was entranced with how deep their voices were as they chanted the blessings over the candles. I’ve watched them grow from little boys to men every Chanukah!

Unevenly lit boys (ISO 800)

As I’m taking photos of my patient (because of waiting presents) boys using the natural light from the candles, I can see such promise in their eyes. Sometimes it’s hard to focus when tears start to flow a bit!

Ah-ha!

#1’s goal each year is not to smile, but I finally caught him last night (after 850 attempts)! #2 knows to just get it over with right away. He knows that I’ll keep snapping until I get what I want!

#2 mugs for the camera.

Notice something different in this photo? I turned the menorahs around, so that it looks like they were lit properly from the readers’ vantage point. Candles are placed in the holders from right to left (like reading Hebrew), but they’re lit left to right (newest night first). The boys do light the candles properly, but then the menorahs look improperly lit in the previous photos. Just thought I’d show a different view for all of you!

So now we have four nights left before we chip off the wax and store the menorahs for another year. Will I capture one more reluctant smile from #1? Will #2 get a book as an unwanted gift? And will I stop to think that next year only #2 will be lighting the menorah here while #1 uses an electric one in his college dorm room?

If I think about that last question, I’m going to have trouble keeping the boys in focus when I take photos the next four nights.

6 responses to “At the Halfway Mark

  1. you are making me cry!

  2. susan, just make sure that they go to a college that lets out early…jamie has been home since saturday….we don’t have festivities like lighting menorahs, but we do have a tree to put up…..

    unfortunately we all go thru the sadness of knowing that this is the last year they will “truly be ours”, 18 years is simply not enough time…but we survive and so do they….

    • Katrina: It’s hard with Chanukah, because its dates are based on the lunar calendar. Sometimes it’ll coincide with winter break, but most times it probably won’t.

      Those are wise words from a veteran mom about 18 years being not enough time! But we take what we can get!!

  3. What beautiful thoughts of where the future will be in the coming year, yes your sons are getting older and eventually they will be making their own choices, hopefully both you and Rick will enhance them with the skills to always make the right decisions, these traditions are the stepping stones they always look back on…mom

  4. Pingback: Looking Back at 2009, Part II « Random Snippets & Apertures

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