At first I laughed off the email from a colleague who apologized for interrupting my Chanukah with a work request. Chanukah may be misunderstood by non-Jews as "the Jewish Christmas," but it's not even close. Chanukah is actually a very minor holiday; of course I was available to work.
She who laughs first does not laugh best. It turned out that this year my traditional Eight Crazy Nights were insane. There was a synagogue party, a friend's party, another friend's party, a choir performance at synagogue, a family get together, a school concert, the night we all have classes, and another family get together.
Instead of gathering around the menorah, lighting the candles, singing songs, and maybe opening a gift or two, we hurried through the process. Some nights we reluctantly lit candles at home only because the boys begged us to and refused to go to bed until we caved in.
And, of course, the one potentially leisurely night we celebrated alone at home as a family one of my boys had a meltdown far beyond what we saw in the candles before us, effectively ruining the festive mood.
By the end of the holiday I was farblondzhet. I want a do-over. And I'll get one.
It was all too much this year. No matter if I sound like a scrooge, next year I'm going to just say no if someone tries to interrupt us during Chanukah.