I’m still smiling to myself. My son just fell asleep, his blankie scrunched under his arm, with one toe sticking out between two slats of his crib. It wasn’t a long conversation; he was so tired that it lasted about 45 seconds.

It went something like this: “Naftoli, do you remember when we watched the rain this morning at 6:37 AM?”

His ears perked up. “Yeah!”

“Did you have a good time on the swings today?”

His eyes lit up. “Yeah!”

“Naftoli, did you like playing with balls today?”

His body shot up. “Yeah!!”

And then he fell asleep, sliding into his sheets as if it was home base.

When I review my day with myself, it leaves me questioning my very identity as a personI’m still smiling, but ask me what I did today. I’ll tell you what I recently told a fellow mom when she asked me what I did this past summer: “Nothing.”

Fascinating. When I review my day with Naftoli, it’s jam-packed. When I review my day with myself, it leaves me questioning my very identity as a person. What did I do today? I didn’t clock in any hours at work, or orchestrate any major events. There was nothing substantial enough for me to count as having done something, or something tangible to show the world. My day kind of felt like a bland ball of dough, an assortment of ingredients mixed together yielding a tasteless mixture.

I want to end my day with something exciting. I take down my trusted cookbook and flip the index to jelly doughnuts. And, as I salivate and envision the yummy treat I am about to make for my children, I realize that I must do the same for myself.

It’s time to squirt some jelly into my day. I’m missing a sweet filling at the center of my life, and I must be the one to inject it. The jelly ought to be rich and syrupy, enhancing the dough to the very last bit. I stand ready, with the nozzle of the squirt bottle aimed perfectly at the glob of dough.

I am injecting meaning into my day.

I am choosing to delight in my memories of each moment spent with my children, and I choose to relish the aftertaste of such a kid-filled day. I am actively conscious that every mundane act is saturated with love and significance, enabling my children to grow up to be healthy human beings. I bear in mind the sweet truth that tending to the physical needs of another is a spiritual experience for me.

Come to think of it, I have been squirting jelly all day long. I woke up in the morning with a prayer of gratitude on my lips: there goes jelly. I utilized an opportunity to learn something holy: I’ve gotten another injection. I was considerate of someone other than myself, and the sticky sweetness starts to permeate everywhere.

As I allow myself to reflect on the holiness inherent in raising children, I really feel satisfied that I “have done something today.” I realize that along the way, my home is transformed into something bigger than a two-bedroom apartment.

It starts to resemble the holiest land in the world, the holiest city in the world, the holiest place in the world, the Holy Temple itself. When my home is infused with the “jelly,” with the light of Torah and the commandments, it starts to take on the illuminating nature of the menorah being lit in the courtyard of the Holy Temple.

Along the way, my home is transformed into something bigger than a two-bedroom apartmentExcept then, only the high priest was privileged to light the menorah for the entire Jewish people. And yet, a command which was once only for Aaron and his sons applies nowadays to every Jew: to light a menorah in our home, to symbolize the awesome power a Jew has to brighten his or her surroundings.

This cognitive process bears sweet results. As I prepare for the holiday of jelly doughnuts, otherwise known as Chanukah, I happily celebrate the joys of daily life. I sprinkle the confectioner’s sugar on the doughnuts, knowing full well that the balls of dough are infused with jelly, and I look forward to another day of weather-watching, park-going, and ball-playing. My nothing has turned into something.