I’m sitting here by myself in a quiet house. I’ve been up since six, baking for Passover. Now I’m waiting for the popovers to be done, the cheesecake to cool, and the gross box-mix cake that we eat for breakfast (cake for breakfast is the one thing both girls look forward to at Passover) to be covered. My husband has left for work, and for the moment, both girls are sleeping. It’s the first time I’ve been alone, in a peaceful house, in days.
I’ve been cleaning my house for Passover for days. My kitchen is actually sterile—or was, before I baked this morning. It was so clean, it’s almost a shame to use it again. The only time I’ve sat is when I’ve been too exhausted to stand anymore, and only for a short time before I went back to work. The hardest jobs are over.
The teen could sleep all day if I let her—I think the latest I’ve let her sleep is 11, and then I got angry because she wasn’t up yet, even though I never woke her. One more check in the mistake column. But the tween is usually up with the sun. The only thing keeping her in bed is her fatigue from a late night baseball game that, despite her best efforts, takes her a few days from which to recover.
I must have asked my husband three times this morning what was wrong, if he was okay, if he was sure there wasn’t anything wrong. He finally looked at me and said this is how he is every morning, I’m just never awake enough to notice.
True. Even on school mornings (we’re on spring break) when I’m up making the kids breakfast and lunch before they leave, I’m half asleep and counting the minutes before I can go back to bed.
But this morning, his alarm rang at six and I jumped out of bed. For me, Passover is all about the food. Literally. I’m not saying it’s not about the seder—I love the seders—or the ritual or even the cleaning. But during Passover, all of our thoughts revolve around eating. It’s not so much wishing for food we can’t eat, although that’s definitely part of it. But for me, it’s about scheduling food into our day.
Because there are so many foods we can’t eat, there is a lot of thought that goes into what we can. Most of those foods are handmade. I joke that during Passover I feel like a pioneer woman, because just as I finish making one meal, I have to start preparing for the next one. We plan our daily activities around making sure we’re home in time to prepare lunch or cook dinner.
And this morning, even though Passover doesn’t start until tonight, I had to start early. My house is cleaned for Passover. That means no non-Passover foods can be eaten here, which means we need to go out for breakfast. But I also needed to bake for tonight (the cheesecake), tomorrow’s breakfast and my husband’s lunch for the week (we’ll get home too late tonight for me to do it). Add in a dental appointment, which seemed like a good idea when I scheduled it, and a lunch date with camp friends for my girls and leaving for Pennsylvania mid-afternoon, and there is little time to actually do any baking. Especially if I want to get a shower in. J
So, I was up early and functioning early. And now I have time to relax before the rest of the house descends.