Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Hidden Chanukah Gift

Another reason this was such a great Chanukah I owe to the incredible teachers in my department at school. One of the teachers had the brilliant idea of a small holiday gift exchange during Chanukah. It included a few of us in our department, even though I was the only Jewess involved. Each day of Chanukah that we had school, we would secretly give a gift to the person whose name we picked out of a small Red Sox helmet (no hat, of course, here in Red Sox Nation). What a great way to brighten the day! Besides having a little treat to look forward to, it was fun shopping and “planting” these gifts. My daughter helped me pick out the gifts, when I told her what what we were doing at work. When she would see the extra wrapped present, she would naturally ask if it was for her and I would say it was for work. Not once did she display any jealousy that someone else was getting a present and she wasn’t, or anything of that nature. On the last day, there was a larger package and, after she was sure it wasn’t for her, she smiled and then asked me if everybody celebrates New Year’s Eve with us. (Long answer to that one.)
However, in that moment, I realized the hidden Chanukah gift given to her, demonstrated by my colleagues was the incredible gift of a different world for her to grow up in, other than the one in which I grew up. A world where “normal” is Mom going off to work in a secular workplace with a gift each day of Chanukah, and it is all no big deal. A new world, where diverse traditions are as beautiful as the people who celebrate them, and being unique is just that, and is not weird or ammunition for teasing. I would like to thank these amazing teachers (who are always teaching) for giving my child a hidden gift, the gift of acceptance, or more precisely the gift of not knowing how much non-acceptance hurts. And the larger gift to us all, that hope will overrun hate and ignorance, and the honor of being a part of it.

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Rene said...
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