This month has been marked by a lot of coming and going.  Various family members going off to collect themselves and returning with a clean shirt and a calmer frame of mind. This is both actual and metaphorical.  By the end of November, we had gone through a lot of laundry.

I understand nothing in life if not fresh starts.  As a parent, I’ve learned that leaving the door unlocked is often all I have to do.

The trick about this is having no expectations (other than the clean shirt).  Kids show up — maybe after weeks or even months — and they sit down and have dinner.  And then very often they leave – without answering questions, without explanation.  They come and swish, like Zorro, they’re gone.

A psychologist would accuse me of compartmentalizing.  How do we have our adult kids just show up to Hanukkah dinner when there is so much going on? How do we not get things resolved?

Here’s the answer — it’s not up to us to get things resolved.  It’s up to us to be the tent in the wilderness where the lantern is shining through the canvas.

That’s our job – to be their tent. Grown-up children at the table, one next to the other – not so great latkes and pretty darn good brisket taking the edge off whatever tension and turmoil there might have been when they walked in. It’s Hanukkah and there’s light and we are all reminded.

Things could be worse.  Right now, they’re okay.  And even though it’s not really gold, Hanukkah gelt is very sweet, indeed.