It’s official. I am finally an adult. I will be hosting Passover seder, first and second night, in my own home with my tablecloths, fancy wedding registry dishes, and glasses. I’m also making the matzah ball soup for the first time ever this year. Last year, my husband and then 1.5-year-old daughter Charlotte and I were living at my parents’ condo for the year and had a bi-coastal Passover (1st seder in New York, 2nd seder in Seattle). Of course we helped with the cooking, singing, and clean-up at our respective parents’ houses, but I didn’t have to sweat all the details, like do we have enough folding chairs for 16 people and is anyone a vegan or gluten-free, lactose intolerant, or pescatarian?
I’ve had many memorable Passovers in the past; eating curry and mangos with a Baghdadi family in Bombay, a seder in Russia when my sister was spending the year in St. Petersburg, Passover in Uganda with the Abuyudaya, and once, bringing a box of matzah for a spring break to Cuba. My favorite Passovers of all time though, are the Passovers I have with my family. We do the whole Haggadah, sing lots of songs, and weave in new traditions while keeping the old. My brother-in-law recently introduced the practice of whacking your table neighbor with a green onion when singing Avadim hayinu (We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt, now we are free.) We each have our favorite readings and like to point out the crumbs and brisket stains in the Haggadot from Passovers past. This time of year, my mouth waters when I think about the perfect bite of matzah with a big spoon of haroset, topped by a slice of gefilte fish, with a dollop of horse radish on top.
We’ve been talking about getting ready for Passover for the past month and Charlotte is super excited for all the visitors, especially her new cousin, baby Galit. We listen to Dayenu on repeat from her PJ Library CD in the car, and I hope this will be the first Passover she actively remembers. I’m looking forward to sharing and passing on all our Passover schtick to her over the years. Passover is my favorite Jewish holiday, despite the matzah crumbs, which descend like cherry blossom petals all over the place.
So not only do we have to get our house ready to host seder, I’ve got a lot of cleaning to do, in addition to counting dinner plates and salad forks and making sure we have enough cloth napkins for everyone. We also have to get the kitchen “Kosher for Passover style”, which for us will mean clearing out the bread and pasta and making room for the matzah, terrible kosher for Passover cheerios (that no one eats and we feed to the ducks at the end of the 8 days), and canned macaroons.
Friends, this is a major life milestone coming up and I am both terrified and delighted to be the one hosting pesach for my parents, in-laws, old time family friends, sister, brother-in-law, baby niece, and, of course, my own little lady. I thought having a baby and being a mother was making me feel like a grown-up, but hosting seder is whole new matzah ball.
This realization of being an adult thing, owning a home and being stable and grounded, is a bit daunting. For whatever reason, this Passover is very symbolic for me. It is the first of what will probably be twenty five years plus of hosting Passover at our house. Now I really feel like “The Mama.” I find it meaningful that, at 36 years old, I finally feel like an adult for hosting my first Passover.