In the blink of an eye it happens.
One minute you’re in your long sleeved shirts, closed shoes and fleece jacket and the next you’ve dug out your sandals and are looking for those lightweight tees buried in the back of your closet.
It’s warm today, bordering on hot. Outside my building, it seems like the leaves on the tree have tripled in size from last week’s buds. It’s spring and I know it will be a short one. In no time at all, the thermometer will reach its zenith and stay there for about half a year. In the almost decade that I have made Israel my home, I have learned to embrace the heat and not fear it.
Passover is here. Or just right around the bend. It’s the Jewish holiday on steroids. The one where my mom a”h used to mutter under her breath as she wiped a brow, “I thought this was the one where we were celebrating the end of our slavery”.
I find myself of late trying to reframe things in my mind. As life creeps on by, I’ve noticed that I’ve become a bit negative in my thinking.
But nobody likes a Debby Downer.
So a little while back, in the shower, I had an epiphany. I was thinking about how I was getting tired of getting up and down from the floor for most of my work day (I’m a therapist for babies and toddlers). I’m getting too old for this, was how I’ve been feeling. But that day in the shower, I thought, you know playing with toddlers is actually keeping me younger. If I sat at a desk all day, I’d be a good deal creakier than I am now.
So now, Passover.
It’s a tough one to get ready for. So many laws, the cleaning, the grocery shopping, the expense, the turning over.
But also, the memories of childhood traditions, my father’s voice singing the “Vehi Sheh-amdah,” whose words I can’t hear without welling up, no matter what the melody; my mother dozing as my father meticulously followed the rituals of the seder. The newer memories that we have created in our own family, Abuelita cookies and Matzah Crack, Prince of Egypt Hagaddahs and family trips.
Passover is different now than when I was a kid; or even than when my kids were kids. It’s easy to be cynical, resentful and cranky.
Knowing how happy they’ll be when I make the crack and yes, Oma’s rolls. Getting them that Harry Potter Hagaddah even though it’s not official (like the Prince of Egypt one is). Missing those that are no longer here to celebrate with us, but appreciating those who are.
And mostly, letting go of the compulsion to get it all done, and being thankful that I am healthy and strong and able to do what I believe is necessary, while praying for those who are not.
Along with the heat, I’m embracing this holiday with all its traditions, beauty and madness.
And of course, Abuelita Cookies.
Wishing all of you good health, long life and the ability to enjoy your own traditions with the people you love.