Enjoying the Seder

Below is the latest entry in the “Preparing for Passover” Blog written by participants in JOI’s Mothers Circle Program:

“We are not remotely observant enough to justify to your teachers why we are so late this morning!” I yelled at my daughters this morning.

“What does that mean?” Eight-year-old Elizabeth sobbed.

“Just get in the car!”

Thus was our first morning celebrating Passover. On Monday night my husband astonished me. The girls and I arrived home at 6:30 pm after our usually hectic Monday of school followed by guitar and skating lessons. After considerable discussion and debate (read: arguing), we’d agreed that my husband would buy a roasted chicken for dinner that night and that I’d prepare a more formal meal for Seder on Tuesday.

Imagine my surprise when we came through the door to find our usually paper/toy/clothing/gardening tool/whatever-strewn dining table covered with a white table cloth, lit candles, and set with our finest china. As I stood there, my mouth gaping (like a gifilte fish?) my husband gave me a hug, “Happy Passover!”

Did I mention I was astonished? How about surprised? I simply couldn’t believe it.

We seated ourselves and my husband began “his” Seder. He poured the girls grape juice and us Manishevitz wine and gave a toast, “To a Happy 2010!”

“It’s not Rosh Hashanah.” I murmured.

“Don’t criticize.” I was reminded.

So I didn’t. My husband proceeded to ceremoniously open a box of matzoh and hid a piece wrapped in a napkin. He served kreplach in chicken broth followed by roasted chicken and peas. For dessert, he presented us with a (traditional, i.e., not kosher) chocolate cake, rainbow cookies, and chocolate covered macaroons.

Later, the girls searched for the afikomen and managed to find it before our dog. It was just like his mamma’s Seders.

We all had a nice dinner and a good time.

Right now, I can smell a lamb shoulder braising in the oven. I’ll prepare homemade matzo balls in a moment. Tonight, we’ll sit down to a similarly set table, but I’ll be making the food: Matzo ball soup, lamb shoulder (New York Times Passover Cookbook recipe), mashed potatoes, green beans, and a self-glazed Seder plate with charoset, etc.

We may not make it through a haggot tonight, but I’m confident we’ll get further than last night.

But we still won’t be sufficiently observant to be late for school tomorrow!

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