The Four Questions: A Middle Aged Mom’s Retrospective
1979: Where’s my pacifier? I’m tired. Who are all these people?? Why am I being passed around like a platter of matzoh and chopped liver? MAMA!!!!!!!!!!!!
1984: I get to ask the four questions! I get to stay up past my bedtime! I get to look for the Afikomen! I wonder if Elijah will actually sit down with us this time. I will put the Afikomen money directly into my piggy bank.
1989: Why do I still have to ask the four questions? I feel like Elijah is maybe not real. I’m going to have my eye on Zayde ALL. NIGHT. LONG. I have to find the Afikomen.
1992: I am a bat mitzvah, which means I am basically an adult. I am so done with the kids’ table. They better not put me there again. I am over the four questions. Thank god my cousin is old enough to read them. Passover is lame. At least I’m only missing a rerun of 90210 right now.
1996: The seder takes FOREVER. Will anyone notice if I pour myself a glass of wine? Probably not. It looks just like grape juice. And I’m all the way over here at the kid’s table. I have four of my own questions: Why am I at the kids’ table again? When do we get to eat? What is even in gefilte fish? Who am I going to the prom with?
1998: Here we are talking about oppression again. And there’s an orange on the seder plate, which I totally appreciate as a feminist gesture but seriously. That orange has been on our seder plate since I can remember. It’s a nice token but it’s not going to do a lot to change the dominant paradigm of female oppression. Someone, please pass the wine. Wait, no one even cares that I’m drinking? Let’s just top this glass off. Finally, we’re up to the four questions, which means we should be eating soon. I have a women’s studies paper that’s not going to write itself. Then again, that paper can probably wait till tomorrow. Pass the wine?
2005: I don’t even remember the last time I read the four questions. Let’s see, should I sing them or say them… Let’s refill that wine glass. Yep, I’ll sing them. I had no idea a seder could be a dinner party with your friends. This is the best.
2007: Seriously? The flowers I brought to this seder are not kosher? I got invited to a super frum seder as the plus one of this guy I was dating but then a) he broke up with me and b) he had to go out of town for a funeral. But I ended up at this seder anyway because the host is a doctor at the hospital where I work and he reached out to me and asked me to come anyway. I felt awkward about it but my friend promised me Orthodox seders are huge raucous parties, so I decided to go. Turns out, my friend was wrong. The only people at this seder are the doctor, his wife, their eight kids… and me. I am wearing my only long skirt and all the daughters are wearing Juicy Couture sweat suits. They told me not to bring any food, so I brought flowers, which I’ve just been informed are not kosher for Passover (something about the cut stems.) And the doctor’s wife wants to know if I’ve had any luck with Jdate. Just shoot me. Maybe I’ll fake a migraine after the four questions and make a quick exodus of my own.
2008: My boyfriend had no idea Passover was even a thing, but he was down for coming to this young professionals seder at temple, especially when I told him everyone is supposed to drink four glasses of wine. I explained to him how I hated being stuck with the four questions when I was little and he asked me what I was like as a little girl. He likes gefilte fish and matzah. This guy is like, a unicorn or something.
2012: Thank god I didn’t mess up the brisket. That would be like lighting a hundred dollars on fire. Since when is brisket so expensive!? Also, I had no idea it could taste this good. Thank you, Emeril. Wait, we already did the four questions? I must have been nursing the baby and putting her down. I can’t believe we fit all these people at our table. Pass the wine.
2017: I still need to fill send the deposit for the little one’s preschool, figure out the bus thing for my big girl’s kindergarten, make plans for their summer camps, map out a menu for the seder, and make sure I have some cash for the Afikomen. My five-year-old is pumped to read the four questions. Have at it, kid.