Light-filled / by Susie Lubell

Hanukkah
Notice the light  dancing around in little heart-shapes over my son's head. Like a tiara.

Well we are coming off of our eight day Hanukkah vacation. The kids are back in school tomorrow. Our second, smaller container, the one with all of the bookcases, storage units and hangers, the one that will help contain the piles of books, toys and clothes, is coming tomorrow. We've lit a total of 135 candles over the last eight days and the world seems a little brighter. I was happy to have this time off with the kids to be with family and friends. Trying to see everyone we know with only Saturdays to do it (six day school week here...) meant we might not get to everyone before we moved to some other country, so it was nice to have a little extra time for visiting. There were a lot of reunions. We saw friends who had moved to Israel three years ago who we hadn't seen since. And maybe for even a year before they left. The last time we lit candles together our oldest was two months old and their three girls (now nearly teenagers) took turns smothering him with love. We visited a family who we last saw in London seven years ago when our oldest kids were babies. Their daughter and our son are only two weeks apart and hadn't seen each other since. It didn't seem to matter. And of course we saw our son's betrothed, the little girl he's known since they were both a month old. Our families have grown at the same pace so get-togethers are especially easy and enjoyable.

It's hard to believe it was exactly a year ago that we told our parents about our plans to move back to Israel. Before they were even plans really. Just ideas. And now we're here a year later. We're eating sufganiyot. We're cleaning the floors with a squeegee. We're drinking coffee at 4pm. We're driving through check-points. We're paying bills at the post office. We're texting in Hebrew. We're parking on curbs. We're eating a lot of olives.

We're definitely here and we're starting to feel settled.