Lasker Pool

Lasker Pool
Central Park, summer 2011

Monday, April 13, 2009

Happy Passeaster

We're a two-religion family: I'm Jewish and my hub, Mick, was raised Catholic.
That said, neither of us is particularly religious. Mick likes to refer to himself as a Secular Humanist, which essentially means that you treat other people the way you'd like to be treated yourself.
Sounds good to me.
But with three kids the questions and answers quickly get difficult.
They start simple (ahem, that's an ironic simple): "Mom, who is God?" (That was Kyle in preschool)
"Mom, do we believe in God?" (Jesse in Kindergarten.)
"Mom, Henry says that if we don't believe in God we'll go to a place called hill. What's hill?" (Kyle in first grade)
We've actually had some good conversations around these issues, explaining that everyone has different beliefs and no one person's or group's beliefs are better than anyone else's, and that we need to be kind and respectful to everyone and everyone's ideas. And we enjoy the holidays for their traditions: the food, the song, the togetherness with loved ones.
Well, bully for us, right?
Because come the big holidays (Christmas, Hanukkah, Passover, Easter), it all falls apart. Christmas is more fun and more renumerative than Hanukkah. Passover, with its endless gloom and doom tale, is little competition for Easter's egg hunts and candy-filled baskets. And my mini-materialists are willing to use any tradition for what they can get out of it.
"Mom, why do we eat Matzoh on Easter?" Jesse asked recently.
"Because we have a few boxes left over from Passover," I reply--a bit testily, I might add.
"Where are our Easter presents?" asked Seth. "Can we go to Target for Legos?"
"Absolutely not. We don't get Easter presents," I answer, teeth gritted. "We get Easter baskets with candy and a couple of little toys. That's it."
"But we got money on Passover," he said, with a bit too much innocence for my liking.
"That's part of the tradition," I say. Switching to patient mom mode, I explain the tradition of hiding some of the matzoh and allowing the kids to find it, then rewarding said finders with a bit of money or a small gift. "Because without that special piece of matzoh, the afikomen, we can't finish the seder."
It's a strange and wonderful story and my children listen, open-eyed and open-mouthed.
There is, I think smugly, a place for fables in this life.
I smile at my kiddos.
Perhaps we're giving them the best of both worlds.
"So Mom," says Jesse. "Next year, can we put the money from the seder and your money from Easter together? And buy a toy at Target?"

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