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- by Nancy, December 12, 2009
I made him. It’s Chanukkah after all. Of course he said “no” first. He’s twelve going on seventeen and none of this is cool anymore. Guitars are cool. So are purple high-top sneakers. And video games that block me out. But baking with Mom? “Okay if I have to . . . “ He adored all the fuss as a small child but now that he’s wearing a man’s size ten shoe, he’s forgotten. He’s forgotten a lot of things. How to effuse. How to hold Mom’s hand in public. How to answer questions about his day in more than one syllable. “What did your music teacher say about your concert last night?” “Good.” “That’s all after months of preparing? Just ‘good’?” “Yeah. No. What?” Each night, I worry over the backpack spilled on the floor, the messy school folder. When I look closer, though, I see everything is fine. He has even taken out the garbage and emptied the dishwasher as I requested. Reading by his side while he shoots imaginary aliens with a digital shooter, I’m suddenly amazed at his profile. The toddler’s softness replaced by handsome angles, the unruly copper curls, once so embarrassing they had to be hidden under hats, now worn loose and free. At the counter, leaning over the flour, he was patient, mixing, whisking, measuring. Doing it for me. A kindness. I reminded him how to form the braid. Hand over hand, too big yet for the still-catching-up wrists, he gently lifted each rope of shining dough and placed it just so. And when it was done, he smiled. Such radiance. Over this magical, simple thing, this sweet and homey bread. Happy Hanukkah.