Tuesday night, as my husband Mike and I lit the candles for the first night of Chanukah, for some reason I started thinking about those candle lighting ceremonies everyone did for their bar and bat mitzvahs. You know, there was a cheesy poem, and for each candle a different family member, or important figure in your life, came up and the DJ played a song to match?
As I watched the candles burn, I thought about how in the story of Chanukah each candle represents another day of light and a small miracle. In a year that was filled with tough times and sadness, I thought about the flickers of light that were brought into our lives and what I would dedicate each candle to this Chanukah. So, in no particular order, here is my Lights of Chanukah 2011 candle lighting ceremony:
Candle 1: The weather we've had in Chicago this winter has been a small miracle. Barely any snow and it's almost the end of December? I dedicate this candle to you, mother nature.
Candle 2: Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit got to come home after five years in captivity. This candle goes to Gilad on the first Chanukah in five years that he can spend with friends and family.
Candle 3: I dedicate this candle to my friend and yours, Siri. She brought light into our lives by teaching us how to tie a bowtie, showing us a picture of a weasel, and so much more. Siri, your answers to our inane and stupid questions brought many a smile to our faces, so this candle is for you.
Candle 4: For the next candle, I'd like to call up Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, whose story of recovery brings light to one of this year's darkest events.
Candle 5: This candle is for Crumbs cupcakes—thanks for coming to Chicago. Your gigantic cupcakes bring much happiness and add to our celebrations (and our bellies).
Candle 6: I light this next candle in honor of the NBA season being back on. Chicagoans everywhere who have given up on the Bears now have something to look forward to—the Bulls.
Candle 7: This one goes out to my favorite YouTube sensation of the year, Sophia Grace and Rosie. Your spirits are infectious as the Nicki Minaj song you sing (here they are on Ellen). You're beyond adorable with your pink tutus and sparkly crowns, and I can't wait to see what you do next!
Candle 8: I've saved the last candle for all the people who have brought light into my life personally this year: My husband, for being an amazing partner for this adventure of a year; My family, for throwing me the most kickass wedding and for being there to celebrate; my friends and colleagues who've made me laugh, joined me for brunches and glasses of wine and been a shoulder to lean on; and lastly to all of you, Oy! readers, for encouraging us to continue writing and doing what we do.
Wishing you all a very Happy Chanukah and a new year filled with lots of light! See ya in 2012!