You hate her. But you just can’t get her out of your life
You know her.
Your husband knows her.
Your kids know her.
Boy, does your teenage daughter know her.
She can rear her ugly head at any unexpected moment of the year — but there’s no time more ripe than Pesach.
You hate her. But you just can’t get her out of your life.
She’s Everyone Else.
You’ve spent the better part of your child-rearing years attempting to deny her existence. Or at least claiming you couldn’t care less what she does.
The mature part of you may even pretend Everyone Else is just a mythical person, a fictional foil there to highlight every insecurity you never knew you possessed. But, admit it… you, too, have a sneaking suspicion that she’s out there, looking over your shoulder, snickering at your attempts to pretend you’re confident enough to live without her opinion.
In the dead of night, while dozing off on your not-yet-kashered kitchen counters (and spying through the window at your neighbor already cooking up a Pesachdig storm), a little demon whispers the truth: “There is an Everyone Else in the world. And she has it in for you, big-time.”
So, as a public service, I’m conducting a search to uncover the Everyone Else residing in our midst. Perhaps she’s even reading this magazine right now.
Perhaps she’s even… you?
Signs YOU may be Everyone Else:
- You finished cleaning for Pesach by Rosh Chodesh Nissan.
- You hired a cleaning crew to do it, rather than asking your children to take away time from their precious school vacation to pitch in.
- Your family didn’t suffer at all from a kitchen that’s kosher l’Pesach two weeks in advance because you went out for pizza every single night.
- Okay, your kitchen is still chometzdig, because of course you have a Pesach kitchen in your basement, but, still, pizza every night. Just because you love your children.
- You went on a family vacation the week before Pesach — because nothing brings you in fresh and relaxed for the Yom Tov like planning a trip, packing up your entire family, and spending three days together in close quarters where there are no neighbors’ children for entertainment.
- You bought your daughters double the number of outfits that I did.
- You’re the one whose daughters are wearing those outlandishly priced dresses my daughters were begging me for.
- Your Seder tablescape is already arranged before bedikas chometz. Your Seder tablescape that isn’t just copied from Family Table— though it could have been. In fact, Family Table goes to you for inspiration.
- That’s not to imply you’re staying home for Pesach. You’re flying to Dubai, to the Luxurious Extravagant Opposite of Nebby Pesach Program. But you’re also hosting your entire family for a heimish, traditional, deeply spiritual Seder in your home, the way Pesach is meant to be.
- You may or may not be Eliyahu Hanavi.
- When the men return from shul Seder night, they find the pillows already in place (and you didn’t mix up Rivky’s kindergarten pillowcase with Avi’s), the matzos already sorted between broken and whole, the wine poured, and you’re singing Kadeish, Urchatz…
- Despite the prompt start, you finish your Seder just in time for vasikin.
- The first day of Chol Hamoed, your whole family is out bright and early, first in line for the Mega Cool Attraction that my family never, ever manages to get to. (Except for your teenagers, who, at a reasonably late hour of the morning, roll out of bed and straight into the Mega Cool Attraction. The large sea of nebby people desperately trying to get in magically parts for them, because you bought tickets in advance. And because you have connections with the right people. And because you just know how to do miraculous things like part seas.)
- Not that your teenagers hang out with you at the Mega Cool Attraction. They go with a group of friends and speak to you only twice during the day, once to ask for money and the other time to ask for money.
- Which you’re totally cool with.
- I know this is obvious, but… you go to a different Mega Cool Attraction every single day of Chol Hamoed.
- (In Dubai.)
- Your children are never, ever hungry on Pesach because you always have plenty of good food to eat: meat, fries, chocolate, gooey jelly candy, salads with roasted veggies and toppings, homemade Pesach crepes, cakes that anyone would swear taste chometzdig, and more meat.
- But definitely not potato chips.
- The minute Pesach is over, your Pesach pots and dishes are magically whisked away by little elves (not by your children), and you’re eating pizza before we’ve even made Havdalah.
- By Isru Chag, you’re already shopping for your daughters’ extensive designer-only camp wardrobe. And planning your family’s Luxurious Extravagant Opposite of Nebby summer vacation.
If much of the above resonates, you just may be the elusive Everyone Else. If so, I wish you a wonderful Pesach… far away from my family.
(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 788)
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