Natalie Portman's Directorial Debut & Paper Towns' Nat WolffBy Gerri Miller
See how Portman is making her big splash in Israel and don't miss Paper Towns with Nat WolffGo To Pop Culture
Since my last post was about Passover anxiety (at least last year’s Passover anxiety), I thought this post could be about Passover in another vein.
My wonderful, fabulous, Matron of Honor wanted to throw me a shower. She suggested Saturday, April 7 during one of our many emails. Perfect! I thought – Mom and Dad will be in town that weekend for Easter, so Mom can come to the shower, and what better opportunity for Mom to meet more of Bryan’s family? All of the local aunts and (female) cousins were invited to the shower, as were all the grandmothers. We were all set for a great time!
As the weekend planning began, Bryan called Grandma Daneman to see if anyone was interested in a family dinner while my parents were in town. My Mom and Dad have met both Bryan’s parents and his Mom’s extended family, but not the Daneman extended family. So, we thought the weekend would be perfect for that, also. Grandma reminded us, though, that the “perfect weekend” we chose was during Passover. With no chametz in the house, and the family keeping kosher for Passover, no Danemans were really in a position to host a large dinner. And eating out, if you’re keeping kosher for Passover isn’t easy, either, not to mention how big our party would be. With that in mind, it was easy enough to forgo the family meal – it made a very hectic weekend slightly less hectic.
However, this brought up something we hadn’t thought about in planning the shower. My wonderful, fabulous Matron of Honor isn’t Jewish, so she, like I, didn’t think about the shower being during Passover. I had no idea what she was planning to serve for food, though I knew cake would be served (at my request), so I quickly asked if it would be too much trouble to ensure that there be some fruit and veggie trays – some non-chametz, if you will – so that Bryan’s family didn’t have to (a) break Passover kosher rules or (b) sit around watching everyone else eat. She happily agreed and was very careful to make sure that everyone had plenty to eat and drink. The shower was a success and everyone had a great time.
This was a perfect reminder for me that from now on, there are two religious calendars to be mindful of when planning big events. This is not something I hadn’t thought of before, but this was the first time a potential conflict arose. I can guarantee that any calendars in our house will have all the Jewish and Christian holidays marked in big, bold letters (none of this small, italic font at the bottom of the day’s square) so as to help avoid any future faux pas! If anyone has another system that works well for them, I’d love to hear suggestions!
I admit, I read the Houston Chronicle’s online comics section just about every day. Imagine the fits of giggles that yesterday’s “Rhymes with Orange” induced. This is exactly how I felt about my first Passover Seder – or rather, this is exactly what I was afraid of looking/sounding like last year.
I hope y’all enjoy it as much as I did.
My second Passover Seder was last night with Bryan’s Dad’s side of the family. It was a crazy day – we left work early, raced to the house to let the pooch out and make a snack for the boys, then raced to pick up the boys at daycare. From there, we headed to Dallas (no racing involved when the boys are with us, of course!).
*** One year ago ***
The afternoon started out much the same as above, but I was a nervous wreck. That morning, as Bryan was “briefing” me on what to expect at that night’s Seder, he casually mentions that they go around the table, taking turns reading passages from the Haggadah. “WHAT?!? I’m going to have to READ ALOUD in front of your ENTIRE family at an important religious dinner?!?” I’ve never had an actual panic attack, but I came very close over the idea that I would be “performing” in front of potential future in-laws.
I was so nervous that I couldn’t enjoy or pay attention to the seder–I kept looking ahead to try to figure out which passage would be mine to read aloud. As silly as it sounds, even the way the dining area was set up made me nervous. Bryan is the first-born son (of a first-born son of a first-born son), so we were seated at the head table, basically facing the room. The dining room is raised about two steps above the living room, where extra tables were set up, so it really felt kind of like being on stage. Add to that the heightened importance of the gathering – not just a casual family dinner – and the finely set table, and I was just about beside myself–at least through the first two glasses of wine (surprisingly, after that, I relaxed a little).
As it turns out, I didn’t make any major blunders (though I’m sure I butchered some pronunciations), and I’m told that no one had any idea how really nervous I was, so I must have covered it well. The food was good, and, though we were exhausted after it all, I did have a good time.
This year I was much more relaxed through the seder. I actually relaxed a little and enjoyed the readings, without counting ahead to see which one would be mine. Our oldest read the 4 questions (in English) for the first time, while Bryan’s cousin read them in Hebrew. It was his first time to read them in Hebrew and he did a great job. We were all quite impressed.
The rest of the evening went well, and as usual, ended too soon. I was surprised to see that it was 10:00 when we got in the car to head home. We had a long drive and the morning rush to school and work would come early. As we drove off, I mentally compared last year’s Passover to this year’s. I chuckled to myself about how silly I was a year ago. Bryan didn’t even have to ask; he knew where I was, and I don’t think we’ve ever been more glad to be there together.
Well, for a change it’s been me slacking in the posting department. I’ll give the excuse that I’ve been packing and moving and getting caught up in wedding details, but really, that’s no excuse.
This weekend was quite busy. I’m officially out of my apartment now, and Bryan’s house–our house (wow, that sounds good!)–is full of boxes and excess furniture (that we’re trying to sell). The dog is rather confused, and the boys are having fun playing in all the boxes and general mayhem that accompanies moving. Bryan’s Dad came over on Sunday afternoon and was a HUGE help (THANK YOU, PHIL!)–moving furniture, putting together furniture, hanging blinds, etc.
Now Bryan and I have the task of combining homes. You never fully realize how much stuff you have until you have to box it all up and unpack it somewhere else, especially when that somewhere else is an already full house! And in a cruel twist, there’s also something a little humbling about seeing how much space is left on a moving truck after it’s loaded with all (well, almost all) your worldly possessions.
Oh, and did I mention that the timing of the move is impeccable? We have Passover Seder tonight with Bryan’s family–a late night, if last year is any indication, when we’re still exhausted from this weekend. My parents will be in town this coming weekend for various activities (baseball games, wedding showers, Easter, bridal portraits). Then, the weekend after that, I’m co-hosting a shower (at the house) for a very close friend who’s getting married later in the month. We got to looking at calendars and Bryan and I realized that we have ONE weekend between now and our wedding that isn’t completely booked…So, we’ll be unpacked and really settled in, oh, a year. Living out of boxes isn’t SO bad, right?