Eight Candles in the Dark: A Year of Miracles- Jane Isay

We lit the first Chanukah candle last night. As I sat, surrounded by children, grandchildren, and beloved cousins, I felt a new kind of glow. 

This has been a hard year for me. Alone in my New York apartment, I survived Covid and a dislocated elbow, and I have spent too much time alone, without company. Solitude doesn’t suit me, and I sometimes felt as if I were a polar bear perched on a tiny ice floe, marooned in a northern sea. Cold and alone.

Last night was different. I sat on the couch sopping up the chatter of three generations. I watched their faces, and I thought about the past. I noshed and nodded. I gradually felt warm again. The sea was no longer frigid, and the winds died down. 

I looked around the room and counted blessings. I survived Covid. My younger cousin has three new heart valves and perhaps the strongest heart in Ohio. My namesake cousin has moved to the north woods and is now finally where she and her husband belong. I got a dog on January 6 last year. It was a good morning.

We anticipated none of these. None.

The ordinary miracles of family and life and growth surrounded me. A Bat Mitzvah, a college-bound high school senior, a French horn playing musician, a multimedia artist. A wedding in the spring. My family is thriving. I have come to appreciate the good decisions they have made this year, and in the past. 

My biggest lesson, and perhaps the miracle of miracles? I am learning how to let my grown kids take care of me. How to listen to their advice and appreciate their kindness.

This past year, 2021 may not have been fun, but as I light the rest of the Chanukah candles maybe I can turn once again to hope. And maybe you can, too.

Dec. 20th

Every other Monday 4-5pm EST unless otherwise noted


Gathering of Grandparents


Start your week with an hour in a warm place to discuss the stresses we grandparents face in the time of Covid 19, to air your problems, share your solutions, and stay close to your family.



Jane Isay has been an editor for over forty years and is author of Walking on Eggshells: Navigating the Delicate Relationship Between Adult Children and ParentsMom Still Likes You Best: Overcoming the Past and Reconnecting with Your Siblings, Secrets and Lies: Surviving the Truths That Change Our Lives, and Unconditional Love: A Guide to Navigating the Joys and Challenges of Being a Grandparent Today. She lives in New York City, not too far from her children and four grandchildren.

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