Aloha Friday: A Holiday of Exhaustion and Stress, A Payoff of Pride
Growing up, I remember my mother cleaning for Passover. She would tear apart the entire kitchen, cleaning every cabinet and drawer even if we weren’t using them for the holiday. The process took about a week and was completely exhausting. (It didn’t help that my father, my sister and I didn’t help. Bad younger me!)
Even though I don’t do the intense cleaning that she does and even though I made a checklist a few years back to help organize the process, it still is tiring work.
Then came the Seders. I like going to B’s aunt’s Seders. We get to see family and it means I don’t have to cook two meals just after a tiring cleaning session. On the other hand, the Seders tend to run long. We left the first Seder at 11:30pm (before it was completely over) and the second after midnight (again, before it was over). The kids, somehow, stayed awake until after midnight each time.
Add in a bad sore throat that brought back memories of my New Year’s Day bout with strep (and therefore a trip to the doctor’s office to rule it out) and you can see why I’ve been feeling especially stressed out.
And yet, amid the stress and exhaustion, there were moments of joy. Playing with my boys, spending time with them, and seeing them spend time playing with relatives. But, perhaps best of all was seeing NHL at the Seder. He loved singing Ma Nishtana (the Four Questions). Perhaps he didn’t get all the words right, but he tried his best and enjoyed it.
Then, when it came time for responsive reading (which passes from person to person), he declined. He didn’t want to read just any passage, he wanted to read the names of the 10 plagues. During this, we dip our fingers in our wine glasses and leave a drop on our plates for each plague. The symbolism here is that, in Judaism, wine represents joy. Though we are happy to be free, our joy is diminished by the realization that people were injured/killed in the process of the exodus from Egypt. As our joy is diminished, so our wine is diminished.
Noah, perhaps, doesn’t fully grasp the significance of this passage, but he realized it was important. That was enough for him. He wanted to do something important during the Seder and that filled me with pride!
My Aloha Friday question for today is twofold: Do you find holidays to be stressful and/or exhausting? Also, what do you enjoy most about celebrating holidays with your children?
Thanks to Kailani at An Island Life for starting this fun for Friday. Please be sure to head over to her blog to say hello and sign the McLinky there if you are participating.