Pesach is one of my favorite holidays, but getting ready for Pesach was a different story.
It has taken me many years to learn and more to except the fact that
dust is not chametz .
And if the windows are not cleaned that doesn't make my house not ready.
Years ago, when I was younger, Pesach cleaning started the day after Purim. Carefully, I would make a calendar and mark which room and which closet would be done that day.
I followed my calendar as if it was holy.
Everything and I mean everything was scrubbed. In each bedroom and we had three, the walls washed from ceiling to floor. The floor scrubbed. The windows shined. The curtains washed and the furniture cleaned and polished.
When our children were young, their toys and dolls were scrubbed, books wiped down, and stuffed toys went thru the laundry
My neighbours would laugh when they would see the selection of stuffed toys hanging on the clothesline.
As my girls got older, they looked after their rooms.
I remember my 4 year old son wanting to help. He took a box of cheerios, spread them all over the floor in his room and then called me to see ‘he was cleaning also’’.
Lying flat on his stomach, with a rag, he was making piles of Cheerios to pick-up. As tired as I was, who could get angry, the picture was too precious.
Reaching the living room.... the scene was pretty much the same. A few times we rented the portable machine that cleaned carpets and sofas. It did a decent job, but it was hard work and the mess it made, wasn’t worth the trouble.
Down to the wire, 3 days before Pesach, it was finally the kitchens turn. Everyone helped scrub the appliances. The refrigerator, freezer [no self cleaning], stove, and oven. The appliances were moved so that I could wash the walls behind them.
How crazy I was in those days.... Meanwhile with very little chametzdik food in the house [I didn’t want any crumbs], my family starving [they survived], tempers flared.
The last cleaning job was the washing and waxing the kitchen & dining area floor.
We were now ready to start the foiling, every inch of counter space, the fridge shelves, stove and the sinks.
The apartment ready for Pesach, just in time to do bedikat chametz.
Shlepping the Pesach dishes up from the basement and unpacking was my husband and children’s job. I don’t know why, but we saved the wrapping newspaper.
Erev Pesach day, was a marathon of cooking, baking and of course the preparation for the seder plate. As my daughters became teens, they loved to go through the Pesach cookbook, find interesting recipes, bake and help with the cooking.
By the time we sat down to the seder, I was exhausted..the kids had many interesting facts to tell and our seder was wonderful. The first night was just our family. The second night was for guests.
Today, getting ready for Pesach goes a lot easier and smoother. I still go room by room but I know when to stop. I do have to keep telling
myself “that’s not chametz. Move on!”
I have the beautiful ‘chametz’ signs the kids made at different ages. They are precious. And when my kitchen is ready, I will hang them up on the cupboards. Each picture brings back a flood of memories...
Wishing everyone a meaningful Pesach
Chag Pesach Sameach.