I parked outside work, gathered my belongings and looked around, making sure I had everything; as I prepared to lock it, I had a sudden thought. I looked down at the seats and I realised we had hit a family milestone—there used to be food in my car. I say food in very broad terms, the children used to abide by a five-month rule and munch on stale pretzels or forgotten raisins they had found near their car seats. I remember rolling my eyes and muttering, immune system, immune system.
My car no longer looked like you need a hazmat suit just to get in. Kids grow up, My youngest is eight, and while he still packs enough sustenance for a short, 15-minute journey to make an IDF logistics coordinator very proud, he and his siblings no longer feel the need to grow pretzel trees in the car. And most importantly their understanding grows each year.
The other day, I found Mr. Youngest inspecting the nosh stash; I saw him give the green light to a packet rice cakes for car-journey-dentist consumption. I have to say; I stood watching him by the kitchen door, puffed up with motherly pride. Yes, you can eat rice cakes…anywhere before Pesach.
Contemplating Parental Freedom
Back to this morning: I walked into the office cackling to myself. Vacuuming the car for Pesach is going to be a cinch this year! The kids can probably do it too—they’re smaller than me! (At this point I start to sound like a criminal mastermind recruiting children for their smaller stature.) This is real freedom I thought; you can start allocating bigger jobs to the smaller people in AND the jobs aren’t as hard as they used to be.
I stopped walking at the next thought. But can you trust them? Well, why not? They know what to look for, don’t they? They know rice cakes from chocolate cake. They know how to plug in a vacuum cleaner. What more do you need?
Ever the multi-tasker, I took out the iPad and looked at the bank of options on Ji Tap. There’s a course called, Getting Ready for Pesach that shows the Torah source for avoiding chametz on Pesach and then there’s the game, which asks your child to identify actual chametz. I appreciated the nod to every pre-Pesach sermon: “There’s no chametz on your chandelier!”
Next in the series is: Getting rid of Chametz. You get some awesome Hebrew language practice, some Jewish law and some fire safety advice. I particularly love the gesture to modern technology. Yes, you can use a torch and dustpan for bdikat chametz. Often, tired kids will be get themselves in a tizzy that their parents are doing it all wrong because what pre-school teachers say is gospel: a candle must be used! (Context: we didn’t have a candle.)
In conclusion, go ahead and download some fun app procrastination in order to allocate, delegate and celebrate. Each year Pesach preparation really does get easier, funnier and more manageable but it’s such a lovely feeling when you notice those differences.