“Quickly,” I gesture to my children as we dash towards the bath, water already running.
My son is leaving a trail of clothing down the hall. Shabbos shirt, one shoe, and then another, shorts.
My baby is trying to climb into the bath, clothing and all.
We are giggling and frantic.
We are making a surprise for Tatty.
We will be all ready for bed when he comes home from shul to sing Havdallah with us.
I turn on the shower for my older daughter, and lay out pyjamas for the kids.
Already, I feel the energy of Shabbos slipping away, as I turn on my phone to catch up on my messages.
“‘MOMMY,” my daughter is screaming from the shower, “I need a towel.”
I deliver a towel, assist the boys out of the bath and into their room, where they immediately drop their towels, and race gleefully around the room, sans clothing.
After wrestling them into pyjamas, the bell rings.
“It’s Tatty!” my children squeal, racing around the room.
We open the gate for him, and my children are dancing around in excitement.
“Tatty, look, surprise! We are all ready for bed!” They crowd around him all talking at once.
I realise my oldest is still in the shower. Bring her a towel, and lay out Havdallah things on the kitchen counter.
We all crowd around.
The cloves in a little organza bag, the multi-coloured candle flickering against the granite counter, my husband holding a glass of wine cupped in his hand.
My baby, fresh and clean, rests his head against my shoulder, before wriggling out of my arms and climbing onto a chair for a better viewing.
“Henei Kel Yeshuasi…” my husband is singing, and for a moment my children are silent.
“Leyuhudim Hayisa Ohra…” we all join in and sing together.
Glancing around, I see how true that statement: “And for the Jews there was light….” is for us at that moment.
“…Borei Minei Besamim.” My husband sniffs the bag of cloves appreciatively before passing it to me. I inhale, then pass to my daughter, who sniffs and passes it on to her younger sister. She shakes her fringe off her face, inhales like her father, and then passes it to her younger brother. His eyes look wider than usual in the candlelight, as he smushes the little bag into his nose, and then on to his baby brother. My baby copies all of us, inhaling deeply, and shoving the bag practically into his nose.
We all giggle as we look at him.
My husband continues: “Baruch Atah…” my daughter is frantically motioning for him to pause. She races and shuts off the light, leaving us with only the Havdallah candle for illumination. My husband continues and we wave our fingernails in front of the candle light.
My children are overtired and bright-eyed. Excited to be in the dark, although this is our standard Havdallah routine.
We finish Havdallah, pour wine over the candle and dip our pinkies in the wax-splattered wine. Over our eyes for good eyesight, in our pockets for money.
My baby drips wine across the counter.
“Time for bed,” I announce.
My husband is returning the wine to the fridge, and the silver cup to the sink.
Havdallah is over, and so is Shabbos.