It is the third day of Chanuka. It is too cool to stay outside for a long period of time, although compared the Chanuka holidays we remember celebrating in the northeastern United States, it’s absolutely balmy. Nonetheless, the family decides that indoors is the place to be.
But we aren’t in Kansas anymore… Everyone here is celebrating Chanuka. The children have school vacation. There are activities for children at just about every public institution. The museums, parks, and malls all have art workshops and donut making and singers and dancers. And every family in the country wants to participate. And from my experience of past years, they all do. Simultaneously. In the same location.
And all of them are smart enough to figure out that if the weather is not warm, the best place to be is indoors, thereby making any indoor activity crowded to the gills and worthy of the term “balagan.”
So here were are, faced with a dilemma. Where can we (10 adults and 20 children) go to be together where we will not be crowded and where we can actually enjoy being together without being pushed, stepped on, or shouted at (to say nothing of the prospect of being smoked upon…)
One of my daughters-in-law and I had discussed this question a week or so ago and she had said something like, “the best thing would be to meet at someone’s house, but no one would be stupid enough to offer their house.” Those may not have been her exact words, but that was the impression her words made on me. I of course replied, “OK, I’ll do it.”
Our five children, three of their spouses, and their collective 20 children consisting of
2 12 year olds,
4 9 year olds,
1 8 year old,
2 7 year olds,
1 6 year old,
1 5 year old,
1 4 year old
3 3 year olds
1 2 year old
2 1 year olds
2 children under the age of 1
Well, the truth is, it turned out better than anyone could have imagined. I had set up four different activity areas for the children and in fact, they almost exclusively used the arts and crafts area which was located in our sunroom. The older ones helped the younger ones and all of the children were amazingly content and well-behaved the entire time.
From start to finish, we had the family with us for about 6 hours and all of it was pleasant. That might count as our Chanuka miracle.
If you would like to see some pictures of our day, they are available at http://michelson.shutterfly.com/action/?a=9AYs2rJi2csLy