Thursday, April 1, 2010

Hannah's first Pesach

Hannah comes in two modes - 'on' and 'off'. We haven't yet found the switch and suspect it is buried deep inside her.

She can be completely rampaging one minute and then she just stops and falls asleep. This just cracks us up laughing (possibly in relief).

However, she was beautifully behaved at the Seders. Here is a picture of Hannah being fed by her dad at the second night Seder. She is modelling a highly appropriate bib given to her by our friend Sam Nagel who trekked all the way from Elsternwick to Hurstbridge to see her.

She (and we) had two very different experiences this year.

First night was with the Mecoles family. A few years ago the Mecoles, who are not observant, decided that if they were going to continue to have an annual Seder they had to create something that was meaningful for them. The result is possibly the most meaningful and enjoyable Seder that I have ever attended, and certainly the one with the best discussion and conversation.

The son, Damien, runs a quiz where each person selects their topic (this year they were 'general knowledge', 'philosophy', 'religion and culture', 'tricky theology' and 'Passover re-enactment'). The questions trigger the kind of spirited intellectual discussion that I once fantasised existed in universities. Although most people at the table are avowed atheists or agnostics, it's the deepest and most meaningful religious discussion I have ever experienced at a Seder.

While Hannah couldn't join in the conversation this year, she was wide-eyed and alert and seemed to be taking it all in.

Second night was with the Solomons who, although not biological family, have adopted us as though we were. It was the first time the parents, Joel and Ruth, had seen Hannah and they could not have been more proud and excited if they were the 'real' grandparents. Somehow within 2 minutes of arriving, Hannah was being cuddled by Ruth, while Joel was pulling out jars of baby food he had bought for her! (Hannah doesn't start on solids for at least another 3 months.) Hannah was definitely a bit of a spoiled darling on the night - there were seven other children there - all boys, six of them aged between four and eight! As you can imagine it was very noisy and physical.

We are so privileged to have such close friends who have welcomed us into their families. While part of me was very sad that Hannah wasn't spending her first Pesach with her biological extended family, it was so lovely for all of us to be welcomed with genuine joy and unconditional acceptance into our friends' families.

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