So tonight is the first night of Passover (Chag Sameach to all who celebrate!), and it was a very different experience for me. Instead of the larger groups that we normally have, it was just the three of us.
I'm 32 years old. That means that this is my 63rd seder (I'm assuming it is at least), and in all of those times, I've never been to a seder with only three people. Honestly, three is MUCH harder than ten when it comes to a seder.
With a crowd at a seder, any kids can help distract each other. I don't have to concentrate quite as hard about keeping J at the table because either the other kids will keep him interested, or the other kids will have already left the table and he'd just be joining them (J can usually sit at the table and outlast most toddlers). Not only that, but a crowd at the seder is kind of my thing. I'm a teacher. I'm used to working a room -- feeding off the energy of a crowd. I love my family, but my wife has already heard all of my jokes and my son (already) doesn't appreciate them.
Unfortunately, Passover came at a really bad time this year. Yes, I know that my father would say it happens at the same time every year, but this year it was really bad. March. Monday night. End of the school quarter. And of course with my wife pregnant, there was very little motivation in our house to have a crowd this year.
So for the last week or so, I've been totally stressed out about this seder. I wanted to still keep it at least mildly religious, but also keep J engaged and excited about the whole thing. Thankfully my wife stepped in and helped talk me off the ledge.
We read a few blogs. I was anxious about them, but my wife said, "We can do this. No problem." Particularly, we read this one by Amy Deutsch at Kveller. So my wife and J first made a Matzah House:
And despite the roof cracking a bit (it is matzah after all), it is still standing two days later!
Then, my wife took a trip to a local Judaica store, and without me being there to overthink EVERYTHING, she bought a whole bunch of things for the seder -- the best were the four questions finger puppets:
I mean, who doesn't like a finger puppet of a recliner chair?
In the end, J liked the seder a lot. We had some music going throughout to help with it. He liked dipping veggies (particularly in hummus...and why can't hummus be charoset? It looks a lot like mortar anyway), and he was still talking about finding the afikomen (and the prize bulldozer) today. So while I can't foresee having a three-person seder again anytime soon, it wasn't nearly as scary as I thought it would be. It was a lot of fun in the end. And without a large crowd, clean-up was a lot quicker than normal too. :)