It’s hard to say goodbye to you, my spaceship kitchen. There is something about your reflective light on my food processor that lifts my heart. Today, we will crumple you up, the thick aluminum foil stained by the perpetual potatoes and unending eggs that were cooked during the holiday. You bore witness to my peeling and shredding, washing and baking. I lay out the flannel pocket cloth upon you, and in it lovingly place my great-grandmother’s beautiful silver, spoon by floral inlaid spoon.

I wonder if the children, sisters-in–law and cousins felt the presence of my ancestors as I did

We had more guests this year than we had ever hosted on Passover. The house was full of joyous souls. I wonder if the children, sisters-in–law and cousins felt the presence of my ancestors as I did. I never met my great-grandmother, but wearing her pearls and washing her silver, I couldn’t help but feel her presence when her sister’s great-grandchildren called at the last minute and asked if they could join us for a festive meal. Of course! Come, come! You belong with us!

The next night I was in a rush making the soup. But I had to make the lukshen, the traditional starched egg noodles. And although this is the second Passover without Bubbie, I couldn’t ignore the voice saying, “It’s the dill. That’s the secret! The dill in the soup gives it the flavor!” Everybody in the neighborhood knew Bubbie’s “secrets.” So, even though the small children will complain about the green flowers in their soup, into the pot goes the dill.

When I was a child, Passover meant digging out the spoon covered in sticky grime from the ice-cream I had eaten in my room long before, and my mother carrying up from the basement boxes filled with the ugliest plasticware, the color of overcooked peas. There was something about those cups and plates that made me smile despite myself. At the Seder, my mother would put a “Paschal Yam” on the plate instead of the Paschal lamb, to accommodate the vegetarians, and my father would sing Chad Gadya while making the sounds of all of the animals mentioned in the traditional song. Manischewitz was the star, with sticky-sweet wine that made my young kishkes crawl, and endless chewy macaroons with coconut stuck between the teeth.

There were at least six generations with me in the kitchen this year

This year at our Seder, our two children and 12 of our host’s children said the Four Questions—one, a young child with Down syndrome, in sign language. When I was 6, I was proud to say the Four Questions, and was surprised that when I finished, my father would turn his head heavenwards and say, “Father, I, too, would like to ask You four questions.” He would then recite the Four Questions in his European Yiddish. Later that night, he told us how Elijah the Prophet came in one of his many disguises and helped his family escape from the Nazi “Egypt.”

There were at least six generations with me in the kitchen this year. Together, we have cooked seven chickens, a turkey, some beef, many pounds of fruits, nuts and veggies, and about 180 eggs. When I made my Passover nut “candy” and I added the potato starch into the mixture, I remembered my father telling me that as a child, his mother would rinse the potatoes for their starch, which she used for her Passover cooking. My daughters—named for their great- and great-great-grandmothers—took turns mixing, while my big boy anxiously waited for us to finish, so that he could taste it. Later, even though I saw him eating his eighth or so piece, I kept quiet. Taste, enjoy, grow memories, they will serve you well.

We walked through Jerusalem observing our tribefolk in their Yom Tov finery. “You know, children, if G‑d had not taken us out of Egypt, we, all of us, would still be there.”

I scrub the last smidgeons of shmutz off the pots and plastic sink liners, so that they will be shiny and new when we take them out next year. Though they are now rinsed and clean, they are not empty; I have planted within them memories.

My almost 5-year-old comes to me and says, “Mommy, I’m sad.”

“Why, Saraleh?”

“I’m sad that you’re putting away the Passover things. I love Passover.”

Passover, I will miss you. You sure are a handful, but you are worth every bit of it. You are a wonderful guest, filling our homes and hearts with a sense of timeless identity, a most tangible experience of the Divine. I am sad that you are leaving so soon, but consoled by the fact that my children will miss you, too.