The Holidays, Part One

The Next Family

By: Ann Brown

Hanukkah. One night down.

I was kind of a slacker Jewish mom at Hanukkah when my kids were young. I was so tired all the time. My weakest effort was the year that I let the kids nap in the back of the station wagon while I drove through McDonald’s for french fries for dinner (hey! They’re potatoes fried in oil, aren’t they?) and then bought them each a Happy Meal toy for their gift that night. Oh, how I love our people and their beautiful traditions.

Since catching up on my sleep in the past twenty or so years, I’ve tried to be a better person. Or at least a person who makes traditional potato latkes at Hanukkah. But I’ve got to confess – it’s a lot of work. And a lot of oil. And a lot of fried shit sitting in your gut for eight nights. Like our people haven’t suffered enough.

Stomach problems can really harsh your holiday mellow.

If Mary’s labor with Jesus was anything like my labors, I bet she has her own version of the Christmas story. When I was in labor with one of my sons, I secretly ate a couple of leftover latkes before leaving for the hospital and then I actually pooped on the delivery table when the doctor said “push”. (And I thought the whole thing was over and said, “That was easy. Now show me my baby!” God, I am a boob.)

Mary probably ate a lot of fried food that winter, as well, since there is a dearth of fruits and veggies in the season. And it probably sat heavy in her colon that cold Christmas eve while the animals coached her in Lamaze breathing. And after the baby was born, while the Wise Men ooh-ed and ahhh-ed and the little drummer boy played his solo, poor Mary was probably crouching behind a bale of hay trying to get her hemorrhoid back in. Bet that would have totally freaked the Wise Men if they saw her. Bet they’d take back their gifts and hotfoot it outta there and probably would have needed a shitload of therapy just to get near a woman ever again.

And back at Hanukkah, the Maccabees were farting their way through eight nights of fried potatoes. I’m certain they would have gladly surrendered and traded their religious freedom for just one night of fiber had help not come to them at the last minute. I imagine when reinforcements finally arrived, the Maccabees pretended to be all grateful for more oil and rocks and shit but whispered to each other, “Oil, schmoil. What I could really go for is a nice, big fruit compote, am I right or am I right?”

There’s the real story waiting to be told.

I’ll be in the bathroom if you need me.


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