Let’s remember 2015 as the Seder That Nearly Wasn’t.
About a week before Holy Thursday I had a moment where the bickering and whining and complaining and all around nastiness pushed me over the edge. There was yelling. Awkward sideways glances shot from kid to kid. I announced I wasn’t going to a Seder if they “kept it up.” (Oh, hello dreaded words my parent’s used that I said I never would! Welcome back!) I threatened no Easter baskets. I put the read aloud up. That got Philip’s attention.
“What can we do to make sure we actually do those things?” he quietly asked.
Then there came the puking sickness. Lucy being sick was rough and on Sunday when she refused to walk or hold up her head and cried the little she was awake and sweated through her sleep – well, that about did us all in. Then Gemma was hit and had a hard time bouncing back (insert joke about food and bouncing here). But when Mama Syd came down with it, well, that was terrible. EVERYTHING was suspended.
I thought long and hard about cancelling.
The thing about traditions, though, is that they don’t care what is happening. They will be observed! The kids wondered about the matza. They asked over and over who was attending. Why couldn’t Susan come? No, but why? Tentatively, I started to prepare.
Mama Syd took a turn for the worse. Guests backed out. We had bought a roast instead of a brisket, for the love of Pete!
I thought back on years past and the prep work we did in the week leading up to the Seder as we began prep around 7 pm the night before. Philip took care of the marinade. Ellie trimmed parsley and Gemma and Lucy supervised the slicing of the radishes. Papa Chris came up in time to peel and grate apples and help Tess put together the charoset. Around the table, the girls chattered excitedly.
Remember this? Remember that? Mom, don’t forget! Oh, that year! What about. . . ?
They were busy and intense and filled with excitement.
“I’m so excited, I don’t think I’ll be able to sleep!” Ellie giggled. My throat grew tight. This was what it was about.
The next day brought frenzied cleaning, Max manning the mop and Tess ironing the linens. While Jac and I Easter shopped (a luxury with the grandparents in house), the crew made name cards complete with drawings of the Ten Plagues. (Some were more impressed by this than others.) They researched napkin folds and all tried to get some mandated rest. We tested our new lamb cake pan (some adjustments need to be made but I didn’t cry!) and rinsed goblets. Soon, I looked over to see all busy at work setting the table and doing the real work required and it was beautiful.
In the end, it was a calm and lovely Seder. The roast was delicious. Lucy sat in a big chair and participated like a big kid. The eldest read scriptures and Ellie did a fantastic reprise of the question reading. Gemma only asked once if we’d buy her some Frozen flip flops and we were done in time to clear the table and load the dishwasher before Mass. It really was a beautiful night.
Here’s hoping the kids remember the Saving of the Seder over my tantrum and that I’ll remember that it’s never as hard as I make it out to be.
Next year in Jerusalem!