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Dear Rachel,

Chanukah will soon be here, along with winter vacation time (off from school) for the kiddies. We live in the Midwest while most of our family lives on the East Coast. Unfortunately my husband needs to work and does not get any time off except for a paltry two days legal holiday. There is not too much in the way of entertainment for the children here for such a stretch, besides which I miss my extended family and would love to get together with them (both sides, my husband’s and mine).


So my problem is, obviously, do I pick up and leave without hubby, leaving him home alone. Of course it would be so much easier on me if he came along, especially since it’s a long drive and I’d be doing all the driving myself, but we can’t really afford to take unpaid vacation leave. My husband says I should go if I want to. He’s being a good sport about it and says he can manage alone.

Quite frankly, I’m torn. It is, after all, Chanukah. Would it be right to deprive him of family time and have him light candles all by himself? On the other hand, my parents would love to see us, as would all of our siblings. We don’t often get a chance to be together due to the physical distance between us.

What would you do in my shoes? If I go, will I be hounded by guilt? Will my husband harbor resentment toward me, even though he now says he doesn’t mind if I go?

Torn and Undecided


Dear Torn,

Hopefully you’ve been married long enough to know your husband fairly well. Does he say what he means and means what he says? I am certainly not in a position to know. It’s your judgment call. All I can offer is that you consider a compromise. Spend some of Chanukah at home as a family unit and the rest of the days of Chanukah with your long distance family.

A getaway can do wonders. I imagine your children will also delight in bonding with their cousins whom they don’t often get to see, from what you say. As for the parenting and driving part, that decision is entirely up to you. I’m a proponent of ‘no pain, no gain.’ At times it takes getting out of your comfort zone to gain dividends in the long run. And when you get back home, your husband might just renew his appreciation for the warmth of having his loved ones around him. You surely know what they say about absence making the heart grow fonder.

Good luck, safe travels, and happy Chanukah!


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