What Really Matters
If truth be told, I have at times found myself feeling very ambivalent when it comes to the holidays.
As the years rolled by, it was me who most often took the torch from our parents when they could no longer host the family for Thanksgiving dinner or Passover seder. Since I am not a famously amazing cook and our home is rarely in company-ready condition, it always felt like a big ordeal to get everything prepared for a holiday meal for a dozen or more guests, even if most of them were family. But the high of being together – however many of us could gather – always made it worth the time and commitment in the end.
Passover has always been one of my favorite holidays. Growing up in Miami, I have wonderful memories of big seders set up on the back patio at my cousins’ house. At least 20 to 25 people – family, friends and lots of us kids – always made it so much fun. Last year during the first COVID Passover, I felt very nostalgic and called my Aunt Barbara to tell her that I still remember those days!
As I grew up, I strongly connected with the themes and symbolism of Passover. And it was a big step, when I began hosting with my husband and two children, that I told my parents we were upgrading our old Maxwell House haggadah books we still used from long ago – the ones that implored us to help free the Soviet Jews – to a more contemporary version. Maybe one day we will take the time to write our own haggadah.
Now into our second COVID Passover, the concern I used to feel about not creating the perfect holiday has been replaced by the sadness and real worry that, with my parents now both 89 years old, there might not be many more holidays together. If we are lucky and their assisted living facility permits it, perhaps we will be able to bring them to our house – in whatever condition it happens to be in – with my brother, his wife and maybe just our Atlanta-based son in attendance, and simply be grateful to be together one more time for the occasion.
Fran Putney is the AJT proofreader.