Monday, April 25, 2011

Greener Grass

Spring. A time to mow our lawns and take a gander at our neighbors' lawns. As always, they look greener.

I asked the girls in The Plot People to share their family traditions for this time of year.

"Some people celebrate Passover and some Easter. Some have special dinners while others search for chocolate eggs. What do you do in your home?"

Millie started the discussion with a description of a Seder, the history of Passover (complete with lamb's blood), unleavened matzo baked on hot rocks and the journey of the enslaved leaving their captors.

Willow, a fourth grader with pale skin and long dark hair, speaks with a soft voice and a slight lisp. She's a terrific participant in our plot study group because she contributes ideas and loves to read aloud.

However, when we discussed Passover, Willow furrowed her brow and gave me a worried look.

"Ms. Ryane, we don't have Passover at our house."

"Not everybody does," I answered. It was impossible to keep the wistfulness off my face.

"Ms. Ryane, are you Jewish?" Willow asked.

"No." I shook my head, fiddling with a green marble egg.

In my experience — and admittedly, this is a big generalization — Jewish parents believe their children are exceptional and touched with genius — and tell them so.

I know that comes with a truckload of pressure, but I would have traded my upbringing of Easters, with way too much pink and purple, too many hats and falling-down knee socks...and an understanding that in our home we lived in a realistic world.

Translation: It's not important that you're not pretty, not smart or that you won't accomplish much. Let's be realistic. Now, eat your ham. It didn't grow on a tree.

This time of year I buy matzo and eat it for breakfast. I stop into delis and order up bowls of chicken soup. And I try to make children believe they have greatness and that they are exceptional — and I tell them so.

It's a tradition.

If I was queen I would live in Englend. I would have a big castle and a big backyard. I would have 3 dogs, 2 rats, and 3 cats. In my room I would have a hammok, a desk, and queen size bed. In my 2 bigest rooms would be librays. I would help the homeless. i'd be the best queen.
—Millie, 4th grade

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