Matzoh Mania! Passover Seder with the Kushners
Every year when Passover comes around there is always a bit of stress in the air. I think that this is just the way it's supposed to be. At least that's the way I know it to be. My mother will start to call me about a month out from the date, and check in with me about what she wants to make for dinner. And also what she wants me to make for dinner. She never thinks that there will be enough food, yet there is always an abundance of left-overs. This is the way a Jewish mother operates. By the time the week of the seder comes around there is already at least 15-20 people invited to dinner. My mother starts to freak out a little because the logistics just seem so impossible. But in the end it always works out. This year was a little different though. My sister decided to tackle the seder at her house.
She and her family had recently moved into a new home in the Hudson Valley. They really didn't have much time to get organized for the seder like my parents normally do. But they really wanted to host Passover in their new home. So right off the bat the stress was in the air. Check! My parents kept on asking her, "are you sure you want to do this, you know you don't have to." She replied, "I want to do this." They said, "OK then, just let us know what you need." With all that being said my mother was commissioned to bring the Matzoh Ball Soup and Roasted Chicken. Done!
The whole week coming up to the date my mother was calling me to say, "I don't think this such a good idea, the house isn't ready for a 15 person seder." My mother didn't have any faith that my sister could pull it off. I'm usually the mediator of the family in situations like this. I assured her that I will take care of as much of the cooking as I can. And that she should take it easy. But "take it easy" isn't a phrase that a Jewish mother before the Passover seder can handle very well. I know that, but at least I'm trying.
Finally the Passover seder is here! I drove about 3 hours to get to my parents house so that I could help my mother prepare the soup and the chicken. We got that done and everything was looking good and tasting great. Now its off to my sisters house to enjoy her new home and family on this fine Passover day. My parents and I get there a couple hours before the other guests show up, so that we can help with the last minute tasks. To our dismay, there was a lot more than just last minute tasks to complete. More stress in the air. Check! We try not to let this get us down and simply plug away at what needs to get done. Buy some wine, get something to snack on for an appetizer, set the table, make the seder plates, bathe my nieces, chop some veggies for an Israeli salad, grill meatballs, and keep my mother calm. The last task was honestly the hardest to accomplish because I wanted her to stay out of the kitchen. My sister and I had it under control.
The night rolled on pretty smoothly, actually a lot better than I thought it would. My sister led the seder with a much more abridged version than we are used to. Thank goodness!! My father usually leads the seder with a much more long winded version and more organized. This version was fine with me. Let's get to the food! All of the kids were having a great time running around screaming, acting like they were dinosaurs and fairies. The adults found their way through the four cups of wine pretty easily. The food came out and everyone was overwhelmed with all of the spices and flavors of my sisters cooking. She was so happy that her guests were enjoying themselves, and that she could finally be done with all of the stress. Actually the stress is never ever "done", but that's the way it goes.
In the end my sister and her family hosted a memorable Passover seder in their new home. It may have been stressful on the way there, but we all made it. That's really what it's all about, making it together. We realize that after all has been said and done, we still are family. And this is a time to test our strength as we pass through hard times. It will never be easy when you're by yourself. But when you are lucky enough to have a family in this day and age. Nothing can stop you from happiness.