I had to leave town right before Passover. The obligation arose suddenly and at first I was conflicted. After all there is a lot to do before the holiday. How could I leave? I began to evaluate the situation. A lot of the food was already cooked and sitting in my freezer. The rest was purchased and waiting to be used. But something was still holding me back.

I would be home in time to do the Friday morning last minute items. My two local daughters (and grandchildren) were on hand, ready and willing to jump in with chair cleaning, table covering, table setting (supposed to be a surprise but I couldn’t keep myself from starting it!) and even cooking. As much cooking as I wanted.

But something was still holding me back.

There were some extra items I wanted to prepare but they were really for the intermediate days and could be cooked then. I’d be a little less organized, a little less available for family trips to the park (most of which I don’t enjoy and try to avoid anyway!). So what was standing in my way? What was keeping me from booking that plane ticket? I finally realized what it was and the recognition was a little sobering. I didn’t want to give up control. I wanted to be the one who made it all, the hostess with the mostess, the supreme balabusta. I didn’t really want help because in accepting help I was giving up some of the honor. Wow.

I was more than little embarrassed to acknowledge this reality and I eagerly (well that’s a slight exaggeration) booked my plane ticket.

And my family really rallied and rose to the occasion. Not only did I learn something not so attractive about myself, not only was I able to (hopefully) grow from that, but I also gave them a share in the Passover night. I gave them the opportunity to participate, to give, to grow and to own it. And I realized how selfish I had been in the past.

Although it was a painful situation that necessitated my last-minute trip, I take some small comfort in the fact that I was able to see my ego so clearly (isn’t that the goal of cleaning for Passover?) and, if only briefly, wrestle it down.

Next year I hope to welcome any and all help!