This looks like a cartoon - doesn't it? Like a joke somewhere about re-defining an all-nighter once you have a baby. But it was from a totally serious article about night-wakings.
I feel bad that Wally gets home from school and it's like -- put your things away, dinner, night-time routine, bed at least. It feels like that anyway. In truth we do have a little time in there most days because unlike most of his classmates he doesn't have after-school activities. Today we "baked" cookies (cut them from pillsbury ready-made dough) and he decorated them with Christmas M n' Ms leftover from Hanukah. It's a family tradition to use them for playing dreidel. I did make frosting from scratch though I couldn't find the mixer if we ever had one. I said, "We can just mix it by hand" and Wally said, "Why don't we use a spoon?" So we did. Then he said, "I think Santa Claus might just be a guy people know who dresses in a costume." We haven't made a big deal of Santa but hearing him say that I realized I had hoped he'd fall for the whole thing a little longer. I'm pretty sure I believed he was real for at least another year or so past his age.
Meanwhile there's Fox News with the whole "Santa just is white" bit which cast such an unseemly pall over the story last night.
Anyway - you may remember a while back I mentioned trying to do a minimalist version of a Shabbat dinner on, naturally, Fridays. It's not something we grew up doing--at all--I mean, we may have had a family dinner and play music but there was nothing ritualized about it. Anyway, I think I started out sometimes buying challah bread and definitely we had grape juice. Now Alex is gluten-free; I skip the bread and just pour out whatever juice we have on hand. We each say something we're grateful for. And I try to light a candle. It's dark so early, and even darker in our East-facing apartment. It's not the right candle, not the right holder and the matches are from a gas station in Paramus, New Jersey and now we can't put the candle on the table because of Petra plus we have to blow it off soon after we put it on because we leave the kitchen to start the night-time routine but for a few moments it's there, on the counter, in between the colander and the coffee machine that hasn't been cleaned out.
The house is still a giant "Before" picture, the paperwork and PTA requests and phone calls to make all feel endless. And that's just on top of everything else. That's just barely the fringe of what it feels like I still have to do. But tomorrow there will be snow. And in the background for a few minutes during dinner Friday night there is that little candle. It flickers, bright and cheerful. It doesn't cast much light, but it seems, in a very small way, against the rush, against the noise, against the early dark, defiant.
Meanwhile, 22 million light-years away in the Pinwheel Galaxy, there's a black hole that's much brighter than it's supposed to be.