By: Tanya Dodd-Hise
After our multiple trips to the hospital, and our lack of sleep, and Harrison’s new development of reflux and a LOT more spitting up episodes, time is still flying by and she is soon going to be two months old. On top of this, she turns two months on Christmas Eve. Yeah, her first Christmas is already here, and she is oblivious to the wonder of it all. But there is something about being in the Christmas season that brings out so much in so many, and while she may not know what is going on around her or what Christmas even is, it is still fun to walk through the holidays with a new baby.
Having a new baby during the holidays is always exciting, no matter how old they are. It brings up reminders of holidays past, memories shared, gifts exchanged, family gatherings. It also points to what is upcoming: a new year. There are hopes and dreams for ourselves, for our children, for our family; things to change, goals and achievements to aim for, and new memories to make together. For many families like ours, those in the LGBT community, there is always a hope and longing that things will change in this country for us. We look forward to a new year with hopes and dreams of equality, and changes in laws that will allow for equal treatment among all of its citizens.
Last year, we decided to begin educating Noah about Hanukkah, along with its history and traditions, blessings, foods, and games. While it is too early to begin teaching Harrison about these things, I look forward to it. Many people ask me if I am Jewish, to which I respond that I am not. I have studied Judaism extensively while in graduate school, where my area of specialty was Holocaust Studies. I decided a long time ago, even before I came out openly and publicly, that my children would be taught tolerance for others. I have done everything in my power to keep them from acting intolerant or hateful towards others, and it only seemed fitting to teach them about other holidays and cultures as well. Noah enjoyed hearing the story of the Maccabees, lighting the candles, spinning the dreidel, and sampling traditional, homemade latkes. I was ribbed a bit for celebrating both Hanukkah and Christmas, but it didn’t matter. At the end of the eight day Festival of Lights, I knew that my ten-year-old was probably more educated on the holiday than most of his counterparts, and for that I was proud. I have also since learned a little bit more about the Kwanzaa celebration (of which I knew nothing before this year), and am debating on whether to educate him about that culture’s traditions as well. It can’t hurt for him to expand his knowledge, right?
This year we have a unique opportunity to show him all three of these holidays. Hanukkah will begin at sunset on Tuesday, December 20th; Christmas will occur, as usual, on December 25th; Kwanzaa always begins December 26th and lasts until January 1st. They are all so close, we will be able to begin with one and celebrate three different cultures over the course of twelve days – not very many can say THAT! And I may get criticized for my “unique” way of teaching my children, but I don’t mind. Ignorance breeds hatred, especially for those things that one doesn’t know anything about. Education breeds tolerance and acceptance, two very important virtues that I want our children to practice; and it begins with us practicing it ourselves.
So for all of our family, friends, and fans, I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmakkuhzaa. And a Happy New Year!