The seder is ended but the grandchildren linger on

This year we had just one extended family of our children with us for seder. Since the seder was over after midnight, my daughter’s three older children stayed over with us. I had forgotten how nice it was to have smiling happy faces greet me in the morning- to see people for whom the world is still full of surprises and possibilities. It was a pleasure to take them to services with me and to have the girls with us the whole rest of the day. They are bright and clever as well as beautiful.

However, we were not prepared for the next installment of the grandchild saga…. Yesterday we received a call from our son that his wife had fallen and hurt herself. We went to watch the children while they went to the hospital. When they returned, our daughter-in-law had a cast that immobilized her knee and her husband had to carry her into the house.

After some talking and consideration, we took their three daughters home with us until further notice. These three girls are very special not only for their own qualities, but because they sing and dance together. This morning at breakfast, we had a complete concert including solos. When I asked them if I could use their names, Elisheva and Avital said I could and Dina said it didn’t matter. All of them are quick and witty and clever and adorable.

So today, I am back 25 years, wondering what to do with these girls for this vacation day just as I had wondered what to do with my children on vacation when they were young.

But for my children, there was no Passover vacation. Their childhoods were spent in Army posts in the US and in Germany. My concern then was how I could pack a kosher for Passover lunch for them to take to school. When they were asking the four questions, they were among a handful in the places we lived. We were strangers in a strange land. Our family possessed a rhythm that was unlike that of our neighbors. People would try and guess what we were doing because our practices were so different from theirs.

Once we had gone to a kosher restaurant in Philadelphia that was run by Israelis and they were selling hats like those worn on a kibbutz. We bought four- two for us and one for each of the children we had then. Our neighbor remarked to me a couple of weeks later that her son had noticed the hats we all were wearing for that holiday we had had a couple of weeks ago. I wracked my brain trying to understand what she was talking about and realized that we had all worn our hats one day. The neighbors were sure it was a custom of some odd Jewish holiday!

We spoke Hebrew in our home and our children never forgot who they were, but when we were able to bring them to Israel for a family vacation, they finally found a place where they belonged.

One by one, they found their way home, and so now, they and their children share the rhythms of our people with the rest of our country, and we are blessed to have all sorts of holiday activities to choose from to entertain our grandchildren.

But to tell the truth, just being with them is enough of a treat for me!

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