As you may have read before, this year my husband and I hosted our very first seder. At 33 and ½ weeks pregnant, the last thing I wanted to do was sit in a car for five hours to travel to my family’s house for Passover, so instead we made everyone come to us. In theory, that was a great plan. In practice, however, it was way more stressful than I anticipated.
We had 10 people coming to our seder–parents, siblings, aunts, and other family. Not huge, but not nothing either. I planned out my schedule in advance; making the chicken soup and freezing it, making the matzah kugel a few days early, marinating brisket, and outsourcing the potato kugel, quinoa salad, and desserts. I thought we had it all under control.
The things I didn’t take into account included the fact that when it’s Passover and you have guests staying with you, you don’t just have to feed them dinner–you have to feed them lunch too. There’s no ordering in Thai food during this holiday! And I also forgot how hard it is to do things like cooking, cleaning, and washing dishes when you’re really pregnant–because your back hurts, you’re tired, and you’ve got insanely crazy heartburn.
But the number one issue I had this year, truthfully, was the difficulty of hosting a seder in a small Brooklyn apartment. Though we have plenty of dishes, glasses, and silverware for most of the year, having 10 people for a seder kind of maxes you out. The night before, I went through and counted everything. I warned my parents that on the morning of the seder, they’d have to use different water glasses because we had only ten glasses for our ten guests. I dug out a couple of extra sets of silverware that I’d found when we moved last year (still in the box from when they were wedding gifts) and washed them. I knew I had two extra plates, but that was about it–we were going to just squeak by.
As I started setting the table the next day, counting out my 10 plates, 10 glasses, 10 napkins (I did have extras of those), 10 forks, 10 knives, and 10 spoons, my brother and sister-in-law were murmuring to each other on the other side of the room. Finally they said, “Amy, who’s coming today?” I listed everyone and they said, “Um, that adds up to 12. Not 10.” What? How was this possible? We counted and recounted and triple and quadruple counted. Yup. Turns out they were right. I had TWELVE people coming to my seder.
TWELVE. So not only did I need to find a space at the table for these other people who I’d forgotten to count, but I also needed to find them plates, forks, knives, spoons, and glasses. Oh, and wine glasses! I burst into hysterical laughter, and, being pregnant, had to sit down so I didn’t pee myself. Because when I sat down to think about it–I’d forgotten to count us: me and my husband. Oops.
But I have to say though–everyone came through. My parents rearranged the table to add more seats. My father-in-law went to go get some extra chairs that he’d happen to stick in his car, just in case. My husband washed off the plate we’d used for the asparagus so that it could be used for someone to eat on, and my brother and sister-in-law found some extra glasses that looked close enough to our regular glasses to blend in. I found two more sets of wedding silverware, and somehow it all worked out.
And after we’d all had a good laugh about it, I realized that truly, this is what Passover is all about: being together as a family–no matter how many of you there actually are.