My husband always sings the blessings.

Whether it’s Shabbat dinner, the Shema at bedtime, or the blessings over the Hanukkah candles, he always leads the blessings when he’s home. He knows them better than I do, and he has a much better singing voice.

I‘ve done bedtime often enough on my own that I can sing the Shema without any trouble, although there are nights when I can tell my singing is off key and I have no idea how to fix it.

There’s only been one Friday night when I was home alone with the girls, and I did my best to sing the blessings over the candles, challah, and wine. It didn’t go so well, but we muddled through.

This week is Hanukkah, and Josh has made it home from work each night in time to light the candles with us. Except last night. He had a late meeting, so it was just going to be the girls and me.

I spent much of the afternoon thinking about how I could avoid lighting the menorah without him. Maybe I could score an invitation to a friend’s house? Invite a super Jewy friend over? Conveniently forget to mention it and hope the girls wouldn’t notice?

But then I remembered this whole Jewish Mother Project thing, and I resolved to do it on my own.

I was pleased with myself for remembering which side of the menorah to put the candles in and which candle to light first (thank you, Todd and God). But when it came time to sing the blessings, the Shabbat melody came out of my mouth, and I totally forgot the words for Hanukkah. I stopped singing. The girls looked at me.

“Mommy, I forget how to sing it. Isn’t that silly? We’ve been singing it for the past three night, and I can’t remember!”

My daughter’s voice was curious and amused, but I just felt stupid.

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