Sixth night of Hanukkah I lit the lights alone again, after a wonderfully social weekend. It feels good to be alone as the lights flicker down. I let myself get irritable and frantic this afternoon - overwhelmed by logistics and that is not right. Its great to get many things done, but more important to stay gentle, kind, focused. I don't like the way I feel when I get overstimulated and grumpy, and I don't like hurting or confusing the people who love me, so I'm refocusing on staying balanced. That effort leads to my question for the sixth night.
What are six ways I can stay focused and gentle - avoid over stimulation and acting out irritably?
Here is my answer to my fifth night question - What are five lights I can pass on to my grandchildren?
1. more conscious effort on maintaining and conveying family stories, both written down and in oral tradition
2. keeping alive the tradition of apologizing for mistakes quickly and without defensiveness
3. providing rich nature experiences and doing real work to keep the natural world rich and alive
4. encouraging their individual personalities and gifts
5. encouraging their individual spiritualities
Today at Mass the choir sang an Advent carol I didn't remember and found beautiful. Both because of its beauty and because it was based on a French carol, I thought about you then. I wonder if your Julie in Girl in the Tapestry would have known and sung this song. I tried to bring the words home but apparently failed, but each verse spoke of the coming of Jesus in a fresh and lovely way - coming light, coming rose, coming star, coming king. And the choir did a beautiful job with singing harmonies. The song seemed in keeping with the increasing light the menorah brings each night.
My weekend was framed by really lovely religious services, the mass toward the end and our Friday evening Jewish service at the beginning. The middle of the weekend was rich with events - Ruth's and Chris' wonderful Hanukkah party and the gingerbread house building workshop with the boys at the children's museum. The little boys had the fun with the gingerbread houses and followed instructions well. The results are cute. Bob was darling being such a nervous perfectionist about trying to help Danny well enough. He is such a dear man, but icing is definitely not his medium. Love is though, for sure.
It was odd not having KK with us two weekends in a row but she enjoyed getting to go visit Allison's grandmother. Her friendship with Allison is a blessing and a delight. Allison is going to come with us when Bob and I take the kids to the Corpus condo between Danny's birthday and the beginning of school. I succumbed to grandmotherly temptation and bought a gingerbread house kit for KK to build on her own, so she won't be too disappointed that she didn't get to participate - and so I get to play in icing again.
I am proud of the job that Bob and I did with practical logistics this weekend. He got my new washing machine hooked up (the old one had gotten to the point that repair cost more than replacement) and it is wonderful to now be able to wash normal sized- loads again - not to be limping along as I was trying to keep the old one going. I baked up a double recipe of homemade Chex mix which we bagged up for Bob to take as gifts to coworkers and we made gift bags for his students. He also selected jewelry gifts from my stored up jewelry for his closest teacher friends. So his Corpus Christmas preparation is all done and all he has to focus on is getting through eight more class days. He isn't coming home next weekend, so that will allow him to have a little less pressure and a little more time.