This morning, my kids asked me how I was planning to break up the kitchen cleaning. Until just a couple of days ago, I was going to clean today, do my monthly shopping out of state tomorrow, and finish up the kitchen the next day. But a couple of days ago, I decided it doesn’t make sense to do a big trip for shopping, since the items I need for Pesach don’t justify the drive and the time. I’ll pay more locally for what I want, but it evens out. So I figured we’d start today (Tuesday) and finish up tomorrow, after my visit with the midwife.
We’ve so far had a pretty mellow pace as far as Pesach cleaning, and until dinner, it looked like the biggest accomplishment for today would be how much chametz we ate up in the course of the day. After dinner, ds15 planted the blackberry bushes, and ds10 dug up a hosta plant that I wanted to move to somewhere else. (The hosta plant job was my inspiration – I was trying to think of something he could do outside that he’d enjoy so I could offer to do some dishes in exchange for his work – he was feeling overwhelmed by dishes, but it’s his job for these two weeks, and not wanting to do it isn’t a reason that I excuse them from their chores. I wanted to give him a legitimate way to earn a trade.)
While they were outside, I was able to get a lot of the dishes out of the way, which was the main impediment to moving forward much in the kitchen – ds had things stacked on the counters waiting to be washed that were taking up space, and no one could really work around it. Once that was cleaned, the counters could be cleaned, and we could start getting some real work done. But it was just dd12 and me, since dd14 was at her piano lesson and everyone else was working or playing outside, and it wasn’t for too long since it was starting to get dark when they all went out.
Once everyone was back inside, it was time for bed for the youngers, and then the olders wanted to stay up and prepare the kitchen. They asked me if it would be okay if we covered the kitchen counters and totally turned it over tonight (except for the sink). I agreed it would be okay with me. (Ds15 did the fridge and freezer yesterday, so that was a big thing out of the way. And we can kasher the oven and stove tomorrow.) So the oldest four (15, 14, 12, 10) are right now working in the kitchen together. I’m giving periodic instructions, but that’s the extent of my active involvement for right now (don’t think that I don’t do anything but tell them what to do – I’m done plenty of other cleaning today!). There’s something nice about listening to them being up late together, working on Pesach preparations. They’re having a lot of fun joking around and laughing – there’s a strong feeling of fellowship and teamwork. And have you ever noticed how when you start turning over the kitchen, that’s when you really start getting that Pesach feeling?
So the counters are now all covered, the cabinets have been lined and the Pesach dishes unpacked – this is where I get to enjoy the payoff for the years my kids worked alongside of me as I taught them how to prepare for Pesach. Things can get done now without me needing to be involved in every detail. Every year, they’ve been able to do more and more with less and less of my help. Don’t think it happens automatically when your kids reach a certain age – it doesn’t! I’m so appreciative that they can work on this while I work on other things (like researching fruit trees – the reason this suddenly became a thought is a topic for another day :)).