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I can’t go. I just can’t go. I mean, look at me! How can I go out in public looking like this? My bangs are totally grown out and I don’t have enough time to get a haircut. And I have nothing normal to wear.
Chanukah parties are a highlight of our year. What’s not to like? Good food, great company, entertainment, and even vacation! Each year my own family throws one huge party for all the extended cousins. It’s a total blast, or it was, until some of us cousins grew up and our parents put us in charge of getting it together.
My chair scrapes against the floor as I push away from the sewing machine I’ve been bending over for the last hour. I stretch, listen to my joints crack into place, and head to the pay phone to let my mother know that I’ll be home in an hour or so. She doesn’t mind that I’m staying late after school to prepare for the Chanukah chagigah, but she would worry if I didn’t call her with an update.
This is not a comfortable story to read, but it’s a true one. And maybe you, too, can learn from it. The story begins with the birth of my nephew — what a simchah! This was the first grandson in the family, and my parents were walking on air. Of course, along with the birth of a boy comes the fanfare and fun — a shalom zachor, a voch nacht, a bris.…