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A Martian at Easter

A few years ago, I decided to rethink our family’s Passover seders (a seder is a service you have at home for the holiday that centers around a meal and telling the story of the exodus from Egypt). We were still following a traditional, Hebrew-heavy model that wasn’t cutting it with our interfaith, child-filled crowd. The first year, I found haggadahs (the book you use during the service) written for kids, had the kids fill individual, homemade seder plates, and bought or made plagues to throw.  For the price of some books, plastic frogs and bugs (frogs and vermin/locusts, respectively), rice (used for lice), cotton balls (hail), and Band-Aids with puffy paint centers (boils), we had ourselves a much more kid-friendly seder.

That same year, I decided that the reward for finding the afikomen (third piece of matzah on the table, hidden for kids to search for) should be more than five bucks and a pat on the head. Why not have some nice Passover candy bags for the kids? Not anything crazy or huge,  just something spring-like and pretty to hand out. With this idea in mind, I found myself at Dundee Candy Shop loading up small cellophane bags with  jelly beans, chocolates, and fruit slices.

How spring like and yummy, right? Last year, I bought Simon a stuffed seder plate to play with and wrote a play about Moses in two acts for the family to act out. This year was largely a repeat from last year, except that Simon was more involved, and I realized that if he saw his cousins get treat bags, he’d need to have one, too. But he’s just 2 ½, so I cheated him miserably. Here’s what his treat bag looked like, minus two fruit slices I let him eat last night, the jelly beans I decided were a choking hazard and ate myself, and the ribbon tie I had to throw out lest Tristan swallow it:

Passover Loot

Passover Loot

Not too impressive, I’ll grant you. But he’s two! And I ate/threw out part of it. And he also got this cool stuffed seder plate:

Soft Seder Set

Soft Seder Set

And we had a play and threw stuff! What could top that?

The Easter Haul

The Easter Haul

Oh, right. THAT could.

I mean, that’s just not fair. No one with my background could be expected to understand that THIS is what little kids expect at spring holidays. My idea of a Passover treat growing up was chocolate covered matzah (not good, by the way), macaroons (also not good, by the way), coffee cake (excellent, but not that exciting for kids), and maybe some Israeli hard candy if the synagogue gift shop got a shipment. And, if I found the afikomen, there was that five bucks and a pat on the head.

Did you take in the sheer volume of candy present?

A Tiny Bit of Candy

A Tiny Bit of Candy

And that is not all! There is more from Jim and Evie in a small dish, three pieces in the basket from my step-mom you can’t see, one large soccer egg left outside the photo, and several pieces I have already eaten. (Have I mentioned having a stomach ache yet?)

This haul is in addition to the two movies, two books, toy golf set, toy car, toy boat, stickers, magnetic letters, bubble whistle, and two stuffed animals he also got.

The last time I can remember feeling this degree of culture shock was when I spent Christmas with a friend nearly 20 years ago. Honestly, I had a great time today, and heaven knows Simon adored his golf set, his candy (what I’d let him see of it, anyway), and his egg hunt. Just seeing him so animated was a thrill.

But against the back-drop of my own memories—-fond recollections of learning Passover songs, trying to read Hebrew as fast as my great-grandfather and great uncle, wanting to keep up with the adults and eat the horseradish but being slightly afraid of it, and looking forward to my Great Aunt Annette’s baked fruit, I may as well have been a visitor from Mars today—a visitor bearing the gift of a pitifully small bag of candy. Adding to that strangeness was/is the realization that while I took it all in as an outside observer, and while Simon is my own flesh and blood, he inhabits this world and will not ever feel the same way.

Passover and Easter pics can now be found in our album.

2 Responses to “A Martian at Easter”

  1. goldsteinrita says:

    I’m very glad you have fond recollections of Passover. There is no way to compare or compete. I never tried as you will recall. It all kind of blows me away. When I was a kid, children got a basket with candy, usually a big chocolate bunny in the middle, and for the most part that was it. Times have certainly changed.

  2. Amanda says:

    Rita–they have. We got a basket (which was hidden and we had to find, one year it took 5 hours because my mom hid it in the dryer) with candy and that was it. NO presents, Ipods, T-bills, etc. But then we weren’t really very Christian either (and I’m not Christian at all now) so maybe we were weird.

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