We're counting down to December 25, and as the eight days of Chanukah happily coincide with Christmas this year, my family will likely pair fried latkes with prime rib in celebration. (It may not be kosher, but it's tasty.)
Because I didn't join my husband's tribe until my mid-thirties (a decade after our sons had been born) our holidays are a blend of Cliff's Chanukah traditions and my secular ones. (Santa Claus loomed large in my parent's household.) These blended traditions include good food, holiday lights, and calorie-laden sweets; the kind you only make and look forward to once a year. In a household filled with both menorahs and stockings (hung by the chimney with care), the holidays, for us, have primarily evolved into an opportunity to spend time together, irrespective of what else is going on.
It’s the holiday season so visions of sugar plum fairies are dancing across the TV announcing the Nutcracker as one of the season’s brightest traditions. With all due respect, that depends on your traditions . . . .
Years ago I took my son, Case, to see the Nutcracker Ballet in San Francisco. As I'd had a short-lived career onstage, I was certain that when I became a mother, my kids were going to speak a foreign language, play a musical instrument, and love theater! So when complimentary tickets for front-row seats fell into my lap for the highly-respected SF Ballet's performance of the Nutcracker, I eagerly jumped at the chance to take Case to his first live show; one that didn't involve a creepy 6-foot-tall, purple dinosaur or a 3-ring circus.
Last week, before retiring to the bedroom to binge watch The Crown, Netflix required me to reset my password prior to signing in. (I hate the world of passwords.) No sooner had I typed in the new code, then my cell phone rang. Shock and dismay . . . it was my son, Tristan, on the line.
"Hey Ma, Netflix just locked me out. Did you change the password by any chance?
(Wow. Hello to you too.)
I should preface this story by saying that a live chat (remote or otherwise) with either of my sons is rare. Unlike my twin sister's daughters, who phone their mother almost daily to regale her with stories of their colorful lives (or to talk about shoes???), my boys call so infrequently, I begin to wonder if they ARE still alive. (They are, they're just not phoning to let me know.) And while I hate to admit it, about half the time they're not responding to my text messages either. Buehler? Buehler? Buehler?
Julie Gardner, has been writing The Perspective for 15 years and has published more than 500 essays. She is also a frequent contributor to the Sound Off column in the Real Estate section of The San Francisco Chronicle.