Tonight is the first night of Hanukkah and also the Winter Solstice. Seems so appropriate this year that they coincide. The darkest, shortest day of the year and the festival of lights seem to go hand in hand. A time to celebrate miracles but also a time to acknowledge the larger forces of nature and our connection to the sun. But for me there also feels like an even closer personal connection between the two. I can't seem to shake my sadness. I have entered this holiday season with a heavy heart, but I am eager for tonight when we will light the first candles. There is something so stirring about candlelight, especially candles in the menorah. Tonight we will light the menorah that came from Adam's family, one we made with beans and applesauce cups, and something just for my dad. My dad didn't celebrate Hanukkah, but he did believe in the power of rituals so I have been trying to think of some way to honor him during Hanukkah. It came to me this morning when I was cleaning up from breakfast. I moved the bowl of paintballs and suddenly it made sense. So I took the paint balls and lined them up with nine alternating tea lights. I don't expect the sadness to suddenly disappear tonight when we light the candles for the first time, but I do hope to find a little comfort in watching my children's faces glow in the candlelight.