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Mama Deb
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Mama Deb [userpic]

We are entering into Passover negotiations.

The point is my mother - where does she go which night? In previous years, it was easy. Either we're spending Passover the in-laws and my mom and my brother just come one night and then they each go to friends the other night, or we're staying home, and they come to us one night and my inlaws the other. Yes, they drive. I can't do anything about that. They'd drive anyway.

This year, she has a boyfriend. She had the boyfriend last year, but it was still early in their relationship and his family has their (singular) seder on a convenient night. This year, they're living together, and as Passover falls on a weekend this year, they'll probably pick one of the first two nights. Since they only have the one, and we want both Mom and Lenny, we'll defer to them the choice of night (especially since they've also invited my brother. I have yet to meet them. This can't be remedied until after Passover because I need my Sundays to clean.)

This means telling my inlaws they can't have them either night. We'd also like my brother-in-law one night. The vegetarian.

As I said. Negotiations. (Is it easier or harder when there's only one night?)


(Is it easier or harder when there's only one night?)

Not in my experience, no. After my parents split up (and you want fun negotiations, add multiple step-parents to the mix too) I finally told them they were to figure out where I was going and when and let me know so I wouldn't have to deal with the negotiations.

These days, without my mother, and with a father who will show up when we tell him to, it's much simpler. Then again, the seders shifted from my grandmother's home to my home, skipping the middle generations entirely, which no doubt assisted in simplifying things.

Best of luck!

[and as a separate gripe: here on the left coast, stores seem to have decided that since it's Easter, Passover must be right around the corner, and the displays are already up! We live in a small place with very little storage; how on earth are we supposed to shop now and hang onto it for more than a month?]

They're doing that here, too. As soon as Purim is over, the shelves start emptying and the white paper liners come out, and things like beans and tofu become impossible to find.

Once I get my guest list straightened out, I'm going to start planning and getting my nonperishables.

Less than one month. Aggh.

The Other Half and I haven't yet had to deal with it, because his parents live halfway across the country. Right now, things are simple: his folks come out for Thanksgiving, and we go to my mother's for Christmas. We're (he and I) not really Christian in terms of belief, so we don't do Easter.

OTOH, I can tell you that my sibs have serious overcommitment around the holidays, with in-laws and my niece's dad factored in. My family gatherings have become the ones that get squeezed in around everything else, which is depressing. It's worse at Thanksgiving, which is one of several reasons the Other Half and I said "screw it" and stopped going to Cincinnati for it.

I keep hoping to be able to host a Thanksgiving, but my mother-in-law has kept a firm grip on it.

I wonder - is it easier because you can travel and there aren't any dietary things, or harder because you can't give a built-in excuse?

Hmn. A little of both, I think. We'll never be able to have Christmas at home unless weather just won't permit (and after this year, even that's in doubt). And I love my family, so I don't mind, but I could see it being different if/when there's a child involved, wanting to have Christmas morning in our own home. But being in driving distance of my family, there's just no way we could not go. On the other hand, that can be a good thing, since it means I get to see the sibs' kids.

Our negotiations are for only one night, and they're no easier. At issue is my mother's right to show off her granddaughter to her extended family -- not, I realize, a small thing. (Even though the granddaughter is.) However, she is not capable physically of taking care of said granddaughter herself, which means that for her to be able to accomplish this, we are required to:

-pack up the child, and all the child's equipment

-drive the child, who complains loudly when forced to sit still in a car seat, from DC to Philadelphia

-supervise the child at a large, loud family gathering in a non-childproofed house

-put up with a seder which, shall we say, is a little less traditionally observant than we are used to (they don't usually bother with the part of the haggadah that's after the meal)

-sleep in a hotel room with a child who doesn't sleep well if anyone else is in the room with her

-drive her back again, complaining all the way

-be too tired at the end of it all to have even a quiet second seder at home by ourselves, meaning the half-assed one at my cousin's is the only one we'll get

I am *so* not looking forward to this...

This is where being more observant works. "Sorry, mom. We can't go to your seder because we don't drive on the Sabbath or holidays, and we really need to finish the seder, even the boring stuff at the end."

Another possible solution, if you're up to it, is to make something very easy and reheatable - a beef or chicken stew, for example - ahead of time. Something you can just dump into the pot for a few hours and then stick in the fridge until Sunday night. That can be the whole seuda and you can have the quiet seder without having to do much work.

Being more observant would only make it worse. "We can't go because it's just too much for me to handle," my mother could accept as at least a gesture of effort. "We can't go because we put what you consider a bunch of stupid, human-made rules ahead of commitment to family," would not go over well.

Doing an extremely easy, low-key seder Sunday night is probably our best bet, but man am I going to be worn out by Monday.

Aren't we all? I'm glad I can't work on yom tov, and I have no plans to attend synagogue that day, either. Just stay home and make leftovers for lunch.

I have to work Monday; we'll see how well I survive it. *sigh* If there's anything at all pleasant about this holiday I'm missing it completely.

The last two days. You're used to eating Pesadich, so it's just food, and it's only meals with nothing special. It's like a little vacation.

And this year, they're Shabbat/Sunday so no work conflicts.

Hmm. You have a point. And I've got a good friend visiting for that weekend, which will be nice.

I've been trying to find ways to have you over for the second night, but Debbie keeps shooting them down as impractical, largely because you have to be at work on Monday. Why can't you take off? Xtians take off Good Friday, which doesn't have any ban on work. Actually, I took off Good Friday, because with all the obligations of the day, when Purim falls on Friday, there's no time left for work. We'd be happy to bump Debbie's mother & brother off onto my parents, if it means you get a nice seder. Also, it would mean my in-laws wouldn't have to go to a seder that starts at 9 PM. We finish fairly quickly, usually by 12. Still, they get confused between my mom who starts at 7 rain or shine, and us who start as soon after tzeis as possible.

Short of that, the stew as one-pot meal sounds like a good idea. And with just the two of you, you don't need to do a fancy seder, just the ritual foods, reading the Haggadah, dinner, benching and hallel. No component of which need take a long time.

Aren't there other frum fans in the Silver Spring area, such as Karen & Seth Cohen? The Felds go to a hotel with their parents, so that doesn't help. You may also be able to arrange with your local synagogue to find you a place for a seder.

I could easily find a place; the question is finding the energy. After a couple of days out of town with the child, I will be lucky if I have the energy to stay at table during dinner; we may effect the reclining aspect of the occasion by moving the seder to the living room where I can lie down on the couch.

Yes, I probably could take the day off and not have them complain. If I feel that I'm doing well there, I even will. But I'm not observant enough to consider myself obligated to do so, which means that I consider it dishonest to claim it; if I take the day off it will be because I want time to recover, no more. And I already chose to take Purim off, and have had to take a few days off due to my health and Grace's, and I only started this job five weeks ago. I'm trying to take as little time off as possible until I'm very well settled in there and doing a good job, because my usual way of losing jobs is to take too much time off because of my depression and energy issues.

If I haven't had to take any more time between now and then, since it's several weeks away, I'll reconsider the Monday-off thing. But I'm not counting on that happening.

I thought you worked part-time, with flexible hours?

I do... and I've used up any reasonable person's tolerance of them already, which is *why* I need a job that's part time with flexible hours. It takes all the flexibility a very flexible company can stand just to cope with my health reasons for having to miss work too often.