I t’s been two weeks already, but I keep replaying the moment. It was Zos Chanukah. What does a Jewish mother pray for on this precious day? If she has time to pray.

The day was fading. In between homework and cooking and breaking up fights, I davened.

I prayed for each of my kids, listing their names.

The menorahs were still standing sentry at the window, but we wouldn’t be lighting them again for another year.

I prayed for a list of cholim, for recovery and strength and health.

It was getting dark. Zos Chanukah. I added a prayer for one more name, Sholom Mordechai ben Rivka.

Then it was bedtime. “Come, Dovi, I’ll tell you a story.” I searched my mind for a seed.

“Okay, once upon a time there was a little boy called Ziggy. Ziggy had a secret wish. He really wanted a…”

“Saxophone,” Dovi supplied.

“Um, okay, a saxophone. So one day Ziggy was playing outside, and he saw flashing lights.” What’s a good story without flashing lights? “A big fancy car came down the block and stopped right near Ziggy! The car door opened and out came the president.”

“What’s a president?”

“A president is in charge of the whole country. Like a king. Usually no one gets to talk to the president, but all of a sudden, the president was there! And Ziggy said, this guy can give me whatever I want! So Ziggy said to the president, ‘Can I have a saxophone?’ ”

Little boys at bedtime get happy endings. “And the president gave him one.” I was about to start the explanation when my phone buzzed.

I looked at the message. First thought: It’s a hoax.

But… wait, that doesn’t make sense.

Still staring at the screen, I called to my husband, “Listen to this text I just got.” I couldn’t read it to him, though, because an incoming call flashed on the screen — my father.

That’s when I knew it was true.

My father spoke slowly, my husband rubbed his eyes. Hayinu k’cholmim — we are like dreamers. My kids clustered round: Who is he? What happened? Tell me!

You don’t understand, I’ve been davening for this every single day since before you were born. (Excerpted from Family First, Issue 574)