He'en's preschool Holiday Program is approaching. This one sandbagged me, and I am triple-booked for the day. Fie upon't. With Sister's able assistance, I probably can rearrange things enough to get there. After all, He'en is approaching the age where she just might remember if I attended or not.
I would ask DH to cover, but I'm keeping a low profile about the Holiday Program. I expect it's the usual mishmash of Christmas traditionals, a token rendition of "Dreidel Dreidel" for the two Jewish kids in the school, and then the rest are about what Sister calls, "Reindeer songs, a totally gray area." Maybe they've included something Kwanzaa-ish if they are really ambitious.
To my lapsed-Lutheran ears, this all sounds pretty harmless, but DH could have a differing opinion and I don't want a tussle. We don't have time for a tussle, and we don't have any options anyway. There is no Jewish preschool within an hour's drive, so our religious homeschooling, such as it is, falls on my patently unqualified shoulders. For four years, I've been limping along with the help of Jewfaq.org, and since He'en can recite basic table grace in Hebrew, I think I am doing pretty well. For eleven months of the year, I am doing pretty well.
For the twelfth month, oy vey, enter the Christmas season. It's such a widespread problem that there is a catchy catchphrase for it, and if you Google "December Dilemma" (hereinafter "DD") you can read more than you ever wanted to know. Here's one to get you started. Here's another, this one by a rabbi.
Everyone approaches the DD in a different way, according to the mandates of their hearts, faiths, and families. When DH and I decided to raise the kids exclusively Jewish, my parents were incredibly sporting about the DD. Without a fuss, they converted their Christmas presents to Hanukkah gifts. They even have accepted the absence of the grandkids on that great glittery day. Instead they welcome me, staggering in solo every year for Mom's Week Off, Oh, and Christmas, Too, and sleeping for 12-hour stints blissfully alone in a hotel room - O Holy Nights indeed!).
But no matter what you choose to do with your kids, unless you live in a seriously Jewish community, it's just plain tough to say to a four-year-old, "Those 14 aisles of glitter in Target are for other kids, not you. You get this blue-and-silver endcap with the menorahs printed on the napkins. And we light some candles. But don't feel marginalized!"
He'en, however, seems to be quite competently working through the theological difficulties on her own. This morning, she was singing a little wheedly song into her egg. On closer listening, I realized it was "Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel." *Except that He'en is working on the letter L, still, so "Dreidel" rhymes with "Playdoh.")
She is so happy and content, meandering through this simple little song, and then she launches into "Jinguh Beyos." Then she abruptly stops.
"MOM!" (Every "Mom" lately is smartly spat like the "Sah!" on a Marine's first day of boot camp.)
"Eh? What? Yes?"
"You kin cewwebwate [celebrate] Kwistmas and still be Dewish, right?"
"Little one, you certainly can."
"Becoss I am Dewish no matter what, right?"
"Yes, you are. No matter what."
I think she has summed it up nicely.