Time for a little free association. Passover is easily one of my favorite holidays. It might even be number one. Truth is, I havenâ€™t given it that much thought so Iâ€™ll have to get back to you on that one. Either way it is in the top five which is a pretty good place to be.
Much of why I love Passover is just tied into the many warm memories I have of what feels like thousands of seders, even though I know that number is far too large. On a side note may I add that even if you attended four seders a year for a hundred years you wouldnâ€™t come close to hitting a thousand. Ok, maybe if you are Eliyahu Ha-Navi you might, but that is a different story. All I know is that I want his metabolism, but I digress.
Tonight weâ€™ll load up the kids and head over to my parentâ€™s house. It is the same house that I grew up in and even though it has been remodeled it still feels like home. Iâ€™ll walk in and smell and my motherâ€™s apple matzah kugel and a rush of memories will come back to me.
If I close my eyes I can see my great-grandparents, grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles as well as my siblings sitting around the table. My zaide, may he rest in peace, will read bitter herbs as if he is using the manâ€™s name Herb and my father will smile as he recalls his own childhood seder.
One of my great-grandmothers will drink nothing but grape juice and tell me that she is getting shikkered and Iâ€™ll wonder how you do that. The little boy that I used to be sees it all. He remembers following his older cousins around and trying to do what they do. There are just so many memories.
Now so many years later the table is a little emptier than it used to be. My zaide isnâ€™t there anymore to call me â€œThe Little General.â€ He died when I was about seven. Is it really 30 years now. All of my great-grandmothers are gone now too, as are their stories about running from Cossacks and making a Passover seder from scratch.
My middle sister left LA to go to grad school and never moved back home. She is on the East Coast now and has three kids of her own. She doesnâ€™t make it back for the holidays as often as she used to. I understand. Life gets busier and more complex with kids.
However, this year is an exception and she and her kids will be here for the whole holiday. They all came over last night. It was so much fun watching my children play with my niece and nephews, but still a little surreal.
My youngest nephew is a hair shy of two, not to mention a little shy around me. That wonâ€™t last. He got a kick out of watching me wrestle with his older siblings. I suspect by the end of the evening Iâ€™ll be carrying him on my back along with the rest of them.
In my mind the seder wonâ€™t become official until several things happen.
1) My mother asks my grandfather not to eat until we finish the first portion. Heâ€™ll smile and still manage to sneak a piece of meat or gefilte fish for himself.
2) It is not Passover if my mother doesnâ€™t yell at my father about something. And it wonâ€™t be Passover if he doesnâ€™t roll his eyes and finish doing whatever he is doing. Usually it is related to getting things ready for the seder, they just differ about what order they should do things in.
3) My father will tell the same couple of family stories he tells every year.
4) Iâ€™ll tease my father about the time he suggested that the chef at a restaurant meet him in the parking lot for an attitude adjustment and my father will claim that I am exaggerating.
There are a few others, but those are some of the main ones.
Every year offers opportunities for new memories. This year has outstanding potential for that as my baby sister is pregnant and was due on April 6. I am thinking that this may offer plenty of material for a new line of Dayenu.
Supposedly if she doesnâ€™t go into labor today her doctor will induce her tomorrow and then sheâ€™ll start to understand what it means to be a slave. 😉 I donâ€™t mean it that way, kids are great. However you donâ€™t really understand just how much work there is until you are doing it.
Chag sameach to everyone. I am out of here for now.